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Friday, November 04, 2011

Scrap Paper Happens: Writer's Leap 366 (Lesson 4)

Lesson 4: Write ideas the moment they come to you. 

If you've done a lot of reading about writing, you've probably come across the advice to always carry a dedicated note pad and a pen so when an idea hits, you're prepared. Well, I don't know about you, writer friends, but I can barely keep track of my kids much less a dedicated note pad and pen. Not to say I haven't tried--I've had at least ten dedicated idea note pads. Most with only a page or two of notes each because at some point I lost them, and the ideas entombed there, and had to start another one.

I do, however, get ideas. And often.

What I've discovered is that in the general routine of daily life, scrap paper just happens: old receipts, envelopes, tissues (preferably not used--though I'm not above it if it's all I have), window flyers, paper towels, toilet paper, church brochures, . . . Heck, I've used my own skin in a bind.

Don't let the ideas go and assume they'll come back. Sometimes they come back, but sometimes they don't, so why take that risk? Keep pens everywhere--in the car, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, next to your bed. Do whatever you have to to get those ideas out of your brain and onto something visible.

But, Karen, you say. Last night my idea note pad was at home (see, this just proves my point about the impossibility of keeping up with the note pad), and I was at Chuck E. Cheese with the kids, and I had just cleaned out my wallet--all that I had was my VISA, my Master Charge, my Discover, and my Shell card. Come on, writer friend! Chuck E. Cheese will let you borrow a pen . . . and he has napkins, or

. . . you have skin.

Visit me tomorrow for the next Writer's Leap 366 lesson.


  1. Shauna Renee' said...

    I laughed out loud at this one. Nurses are notorious for the same thing--during crises, we grab paper towels, or use our PADS (as opposed to PDA'S)--the bed sheets (laundry hates us), the leg of our scrub pants (hair spray works on ink!)--you name it. Of course, now that many facilities are going to computerized charting thanks to the government mandate that EVERYONE will use electronic records by 2015, one would think that would go away. NOT! Gotta write it somewhere until you can get to the keyboard! :)

    Which brings me to my point: nursing and writing go hand-in-hand. Sometimes literally!

  2. Karen said...

    Very familiar with this, Shauna. My education and career background is Health Information Administration. It was always fun to get those little scrap pieces of paper we had to process into the records. When I left HCA five years ago, we maintained a paper record along with an electronic record. I imagine that will continue for most facilities for a long time to come. So those scrap pieces of paper or tissues or bed sheets aren't going anywhere anytime soon, I'll bet.