Ideas: Where do you keep yours?

I’m an organized writer that lives in an organized mess. Everything has a place, though I’m sure that anyone looking at my desk would disagree with me on that. My wonderful hubby is just such a person. 😀

He also doesn’t understand my propensity to collect story ideas. Every time I turn around I’m coming up with new ones. They pop up when I watch TV, movies, listen to music, read books, write books, when I dream, when I watch my kids play, and from life itself.

There is no storage of ideas, and I’m sure there are many who would agree with me. Ideas are not the problems. Storing them might be the problem for some of you. I know that my mother was forever washing my story idea books and the random scraps of paper in my pockets.

At one point I started an Idea Box. Everyday, every scrap of paper I wrote a story idea on ended up in that box. Every so often I went through that box and threw away papers that didn’t make sense or grouped together papers that seemed related. The Ideas soon outgrew their Box.

I tried keeping them in a computer, file that I brilliantly named my Idea Bank (LOL Okay, so it’s not so brilliant but give me a break I was 16-years-old and thought it was cool),  but I want easy access to them and didn’t want to turn on the computer every time I wanted to look through my PC folder of ideas. The Box and Computer storage Quickly morphed into an overflowing 3-inch 3 ring binder with pocketed series dividers. Do they make folders bigger than 3-inches? Maybe I’ll have to move it to a file box next, or just trim it down to fit in the 3-inch 3 ring binder.

Either way, I’d like to open the comments up to you guys. Where do you keep your ideas? Do you have an idea notebook, box, or computer file? Do you write them in a journal? How many of you keep it in your head and play it by ear when it comes time to write your next novel? Or what do you do to come up with new ideas?

25 thoughts on “Ideas: Where do you keep yours?

  1. Lauralynn Elliott April 3, 2012 / 2:00 am

    My ideas usually stay in my head until I’m ready to write the story. But as I get older, I find my memory isn’t so great. So they are going to start going on the computer!

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 5:02 pm

      Cool. After years of keeping mine, I realize I have more ideas then time to write. LOL

  2. K. S. Bowers April 3, 2012 / 2:28 am

    Oh wow. I have the 3 ring binder separated by dividers (get outta my head), I also carry a pocket sized notebook everywhere, and I have a file on the computer. =)

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 5:04 pm

      XD Great minds think alike. I’ve regulated my notebook to my purse after the first few times I washed it because I forgot it was in my pocket. LOL

  3. Joleene Naylor April 3, 2012 / 6:39 am

    I’m more of an “in my head” kind of gal, though I also have several notepad files hanging around my desktops that have little notes like “Use this line” or “Add so-and-so to this scene” and then if I had a few random conversations tacked into the end of my “notes” file, though they’re all used up now 🙂

    I think idea bank is kinda cool, actually 😉

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 5:20 pm

      LOL Sounds like my desk. I just cleaned up my desk and found all sorts of notes for WIPs. I need folders to keep them all in,

  4. Lovelyn April 3, 2012 / 9:06 am

    I have notebooks. Lots and lots of notebooks. They aren’t very organized but that’s what works for me.

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 5:21 pm

      Cool! Notebooks are great and easier to look through then random papers. 🙂

  5. Jessica April 3, 2012 / 12:03 pm

    I have too many paper journals to count, but recently, as my hand-writing has become too slow to keep up with my thoughts, I have been keeping my ideas in the computer. I recently purchased Scrivener (love it!), and it came with a recipe template. I changed the headings (e.g. YA, adult, 9-12yrs, fantasy, short, long, really long) and I dump things in there. I often get started with a freewrite, as I find it’s like stretching before a run, and they go in there, too. The only thing I need to remember is to back up, which I do every Monday, just as a matter of course.
    Also, when working on my novels, I keep Notepad or something similar open beside the file, and scribble things in there. Woohoo for virtual ‘post-it’ notes, too.

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 6:13 pm

      I like the idea of the notepad and PC post-it-notes for a WIP. 😀

  6. lahilden April 3, 2012 / 1:07 pm

    I have a shoebox full of ideas, but I haven’t looked in it in years. I tried to put ideas and thoughts on the computer, but it was time consuming. At one time, I had a spiral notebook of things I wanted to remember like Tattersall’s is next to Hyde Park. I write Regency so I like to keep these kinds of things in mind. I’ve found that the best method for me is to just research what I want to know, going back through all my notes takes too much time.

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 6:12 pm

      I agree. Going through a notebook of notes takes too long.

  7. Maryann Miller April 3, 2012 / 2:01 pm

    I have a file folder labeled – Ta-Da – Story Ideas. LOL I have had this folder since I first started writing and refer to it when I am out of ideas. However, that doesn’t often happen, as new ideas are always grabbing me, and sometimes that new idea is so strong it becomes my next project.

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 5:48 pm

      *Clap hands* LOL I do the same, though the only ideas I seem to grab from my idea binder are the ones for the next story in my series of books. 😀

  8. crystalwhimsey April 3, 2012 / 4:42 pm

    I keep a notebook in every room of the house and one in my handbag. Once a week or so I transfer things into a computer doc under the appropriate heading. I’m sure there is a better system but so far this is working for me.

    • Stephannie Beman April 3, 2012 / 5:46 pm

      Sounds like it works. Why change a good thing? 😀

  9. Tori Scott April 3, 2012 / 5:21 pm

    I keep a story ideas file on my computer. I used to write them in notebooks, but then I misplaced the notebooks. And that reminds me that I need to email my ideas file to myself…

  10. Carlene April 3, 2012 / 10:50 pm

    Notebooks, pads, and recently my laptop. I carry a notebook around with me. It’s weird but my ideas for a novel usually happens when I’m taking a walk.

    • Stephannie Beman April 4, 2012 / 4:46 am

      I have that happen with blog posts while I’m walking with my kids.

  11. ninepublishing April 3, 2012 / 10:56 pm

    I just started using something new and I think I like it so far. Microsoft OneNote utilizes Microsoft Live to sync between my computer, my Android phone and my iPad. I make notes on one device and can access them from the others. I like it because I always seem to have one of those device with in reach. I used to try and keep them in my head. I would come up with a scene idea or a great line to use in a scene, but when I went to write it I would only remember part of what I had come up with. The important thing is record it somewhere!

    • Stephannie Beman April 4, 2012 / 4:47 am

      I love Microsoft OneNote. I use it for my project files for my series.

  12. williamkendall1 April 4, 2012 / 10:48 pm

    Lots of places. In my head, for starters, but I also keep notes and random bits of paper, and place things into various drafts and folders in email for future reference for story ideas as they come to me.

  13. Ruth Ann Nordin April 5, 2012 / 3:20 am

    Mostly in my head. I do have a “future ideas” page on my blog to jot down plot ideas for future books which are a couple of sentences. I have a notebook I’ll write a couple things in from time to time, but I rarely remember to go back to it. So 99% of my stuff stays in my head.

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