Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I've Learned - Bird by Bird (4)

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

In my fourth and final recap of Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird, I'm going to talk about


Now, I bet you all think you know what I'm going to talk about. When I was reading this chapter in Anne's book, I thought I knew what she was going to talk about, too. Then, she threw me for a loop. This post is not about using index cards as a way to organize your story.

Basically, she leaves cards in every room of her house and always carries one with her when she's going out sans purse. This gives her a place to write down anything, at any time. Maybe it's a piece of overheard dialogue, or the way two dogs are interacting in the park, but she's always able to capture it.

Ever since NaNo '09, I've been carrying around a pen in my purse, but never an index card or notebook. I usually end up using whatever scrap of paper I can find. Receipts are a favorite. As you can imagine, this is not very organized. At the end of the day week month, I find myself with countless receipts with ideas on them. It's sort of frustrating.

For NaNo '10, I decided to use actual paper. This has worked well, but I'm still not organized. I have a notebook at work, which is chock full of some journaling I've been doing, and a notebook at home with character descriptions and loglines, etc. Not to mention my google docs account that has my rough outline, my detailed outline and a character questionnaire.

So before Nano starts, I'm going to buy a notebook and get organized - maybe I'll even buy a pack of index cards to throw in my purse. Wish me luck!

Do you carry writing tools everywhere you go? What kind of notebook do you use?


  1. I have a tiny little notebook in my purse that's perfect for jotting down ideas, because they always seem to come at the most random times! Such great advice :)

  2. I do carry a small notebook in my purse, which has come in handy several times.

    I didn't know about index cards for this purpose. I do use them for plotting, though. I like the flexility of them, where I can slip in a new card if I think of something new.

    I'm doing nano too! If you want to buddy me, I'm at Julie Musil. Good luck!

  3. I always have pens in my purse, but I only sometimes carry around a notebook. The one I carry still has my Nano '09 notes in it to refer back to.
    I usually jot quick things down in the notes function in my Iphone.

  4. I have a great notebook in my was actually part of my gift from the last NBC exchange! I've used it to write down overheard dialogue, too. It's awesome.

  5. I love this post--and I loved Bird by Bird. Index cards always seemed like a good idea but not for me because I'm too disorganized. I'd lose them or drop them or just plain fail to write them out!