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Tip Tuesday #43

Sorry I've been scarce! I've been even busier than usual lately. I loved all the Q&A questions you sent in, and I'm hoping to have them back next week. Stay tuned!

Today's fabulous tip was sent in by Ammie Hart and she credits the idea to The Paper Wait. Since Ammie doesn't have a blog, please check out this great group blog instead! Here's the tip:

Keep a journal, a central file, a SOMETHING close by at ALL times that is easily accessible. When that new idea is BURNING in your head and you can hear your characters talking, and see the chapters and plot unfolding in front of your very sleep deprived eyes, take a quick break from your WIP and jot down your thoughts and ideas. I find it's better to take a quick break from the WIP to think inspirationally for a bit as it gets me motivated to finish said WIP so I can get to writing the new inspirational piece. I also find that when I do get back to my WIP, I'm refreshed. I'd like to point out there is one strict rule I have with this--I give myself a time limit. No dilly-dallying here. Usually I allow myself a few days at most, jot down information, keep it on the side, flush out characters, plot, etc, and then back to work on my WIP.

I love this idea, Ammie. I always jot down my ideas but I usually don't flesh them out right away. I think it would be better if I did, when the idea is most fresh and exciting. Readers, what do you do when a shiny new idea strikes?


  1. I think "I need to write that down" and then I forget and it comes to me about five years later:/

  2. Thanks for the tip, Ammie! Great suggestion to jot those ideas down right away -- and even better that you're refreshed when you get back to the WIP. My biggest problem is that I easily get distracted by new ideas, so the time limit rule is a good one.

  3. Hey Everyone! I am so excited MY TIP made it onto Casey's blog! So this actually JUST happened to me two days ago, if I may share. I am in the the absolute hellish throws of finishing my middle grade piece about a seventh grade boy whos life turns upside down when his mother announces she is in love with her best friend Jack, as in "Aunt Jackie," and there I am jogging with my double stroller, sweating up a storm, thinking in my head how I'm going to knock out the last quarter of my manuscript, and BOOM. I see this crazy polka dotted, I kid you not, POLKA DOTTED speckled swan in the pond. I"m like, oh boy, that is the oddest thing I've ever seen, it's a kids book if I ever heard of one! So, just kept mumbling speckled swan the whole way for the rest of the jog until I could write my idea down. Still on my "idea pad" (I keep, like, ten of them around the house) for later. But then yesterday, I had a fresh mind and set of eyes for my WIP. Forging ahead! Happy writing, everyone! And thanks to Casey for this AWESOME blog!!!!

  4. Best piece of advice for a writer and I heard this from my eleventh grade writing teacher. Thanks for reminding me!

  5. Another wonderful tip! I keep a little notebook with me because you never know when a great idea will strike, or even just a piece of inspiration. Thanks so much for passing this along!


  6. The other day a sentence about patience wrote itself in my head, and I loved it. And I thought, boy, I can't wait to use this in my new wip. It'll be perfect for the protag character intro. DO I REMEMBER WHAT THAT SENTENCE WAS? No, I do not. All I know is that it was about patience and, at the time, I thought it was awesome.

  7. Good tip! I have a special gmail account I email ideas and snippets to.

  8. Ooooh!!! I love the gmail account to email ideas!!!! NOW THAT IS GENIUS! (cackling evilly while fingers wiggle across keyboard.) Great tip to share!

    @Carrie-did you see my ridiculous comment above about the idiotic speckled swan? Just imagine me chanting like a moron as I make my way to the car, load my children, and try and scribble it onto a freaking gum wrapper so I won't lose it. the things we do. *sigh*

  9. Having a cell phone that has a Word function really helps since you don't need to shut it off. Anytime there's an idea, grab your phone, and start writing.

  10. Such a super idea. I do the same thing, especially since most of my ideas come to me either as I'm just falling asleep or just waking up. Except I can get really lazy some times and skip out on writing things down.

  11. If it stays with me for more than a couple of days, I do something similar to Ammie. I have a file on my computer with pages of "ideas." Most are only a paragraph or two long, with a little note at the bottom reminding me what (book? news article? movie?) inspired it. That's enough to re-inspire me when I get time. :)

    If I don't write it down, it drives me crazy until I do, and the WIP is neglected...

  12. Great idea! I have my little notebook that travels everywhere I go, but now I think I'll made a digital file as well -- and the idea of emailing everything is a great one! Thanks!

  13. Awesome comments! I'm going to remember this post whenever I'm wavering about writing something down. : ) I'm still thinking about getting a recorder as suggested by a couple past tippers.

    Thank you for the great tip and conversation, Ammie!

  14. Great idea. The plus side to this is that you have your ideas for the next book already started when you finish the one you're working on. It's nice to open up a document and see that you've already got the makings of a plot instead of staring at a blank screen.