Get it Down

A good place to start a blog that’s supposed to be about writing is with the most basic part of the craft — getting ideas from brain to page. Because if you’re not doing that, you’re not writing.

I recently had a discussion with a friend about the best way to go about getting things down. Do you need a fancy notebook and a matching fancy pen? Well, if that helps you get into the right frame of mind, sure, but beware that those tools start to seem too precious for their intended purpose. So what about a slick blog with pretty backgrounds and bells and whistles and ribbons? Okay, maybe, if you can have it always at hand. Something electronic, netbook, Blackberry, a pda or something? That depends. Does that work for you?

My solution was simpler. Paper and pen. A plain notebook. Scrap paper that can be later shoved into a folder. Hell, I’ve written things down on sticky notes because they’re what I have at hand while I’m at work. It doesn’t matter how you get things down as long as you get them down.

This isn’t just the opinion of an unpublished amateur. Professional writers agree! Get it down. You can pretty it up later, organize it however you want or need, but if it isn’t somewhere you can get to and work with, it doesn’t matter what it looks like or how cleverly it’s organized. Ideas are no good to you if you leave them in your head.

I used to use a Sony Clie until I started having issues with the battery life and its reluctance to sync with my computer. It was a clever and cute little device. Small, though a bit heavy. I could scribble with the stylus or break out the fold out keyboard. Perfect for writing on the go. Prior to that, it was notebooks and scrap paper. After that, it was notebooks, the occasional scrap paper or sticky note. I don’t go anywhere without pen and paper. I have a five subject spiral notebook that sits at my elbow while I work (not to mention those sticky notes). I have a pocket sized Moleskine cahier that lives in whatever pocket I can get it in along with a pen. I can, if I want, record voice memos on either my phone or my iPod, although I never have.

Organizing it all is another topic for another day and one to which I can’t speak. My organization system is non-existent, but somehow that works for me.

Point is — GET IT DOWN. Nothing matters but that.