Saturday, July 26, 2014

Capturing Ideas, while they strike

As a writer, I always take a pen and small notebook with me in my handbag wherever I go. I have pens and paper within easy reach in various parts of my house too, like my coffee, dining and bedside tables; so I am always able to jot down ideas and or take notes when those ideas come to me. I have a smart phone that has a voice recorder on it, which I put to good, frequent use too; in the middle of the night, I can get back to sleep so much quicker if I just sleepily voice record my idea with my eyes shut rather than having to wake up and turn the light on to write the idea down.

But, my real claim to being 'strange' or 'a writer' is that in my kitchen I have two magnetic whiteboards adhered to my fridge, and marking pens close by on the bench next to the fridge. That way, I don't have to waste precious time to dry or clean my hands when an idea strikes while I'm washing up, or am cooking. 

When I first got those (free-gift) whiteboards a few years ago (almost the size of an A4 sheet of paper, from my local doctors and an expo), the kids and I used to just create our shopping list, and or write important messages to each other in case we missed each other because we all seemed to be on 'different shifts'.  Now, as it is mostly only my Bubbygirl and I at home (and we just send each other free SMS or Facebook messages), we still use the topmost whiteboard to write up our shopping list... and the spare whiteboard didn't get much of a work out, until I started writing again.

Now, I am amazed at how often great ideas and sentences come to me while I am washing up the dishes (I'll get around to fixing the dishwasher, one day!)

... Actually, I'm in the middle of a current writing project... and I'm wondering where I can get another magnetic whiteboard! My handwriting is quite large, and there isn't always enough room to write down everything. 

As soon as I find another one, I'll just have to go and dirty up a few more mugs and some dishes so I can give it a decent workout...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Feeling like I might actually get to 'The End' this time!

After numerous attempts to write a training course and getting part way into writing it, then coming to a grinding halt because I felt like I was waffling far too excessively, I changed tactic.

I downloaded a Mind map and dumped my ideas and thoughts into the freebie program in short and concise statements that I knew I would understand later. 

At the end, I switched the mind map over to Outline view, but the program wouldn't allow me to print out the outline, only the actual mind map. *Sigh*  So I painstakingly hand wrote into a fresh spiral notebook each of the bullet points in the outline (though I altered the list to only have a two step hierarchy on paper than the however many hierarchy created by the program).

And that, my friends, changed everything.

I typed each of those bullet points into Microsoft Word (using the outline view mode) and in less than half an hour I had the structure all set down.  Then, starting with the last entries (using normal mode), I inserted Section and Page breaks, until just the skeletal outline was on about 30 pages instead of 2.

With great determination, the next day I deliberately started working on writing Section 30.  I knew it would be my hardest part of writing the content, so rather than putting it off and starting on all the easy bits (which was really tempting, and, to be honest, mostly already done at first draft level), I forced myself to start with the hardest parts first.

That first writing session took me five hours, and the words took a while before they started to come out, but by the time I was finished, I had 1. missed having lunch (not good, I have diabetes) and 2. had increased my word count from 2,712 words to 6,799 words!  I had got through that hard last section, and then moved straight to another hard section (I think around section 24 or so) while I was on a roll.

Anyway, it is now two weeks later and my word count has grown to  35, 268 words.  I still have a long way to go to get everything out of my head and onto paper, before I can then chop out unnecessary points and to rewrite, edit and polish the manuscript to a readable (by another person) level. 

And it has been a FUN journey this time.  Once I cracked that 10,000 word mark, something inside me just knew it would be different this time - this time I wouldn't be going back to the drawing board, this time, I will actually get to writing 'The End' (Though, that will be the first two words that I will then need to edit out).