No, I promise this isn’t a complaining post about stupid questions people ask writers. But before I get to the meat of the post, I have a couple of ConCarolinas-related announcements.
1) The Book Launch Party for The Big Bad:An Anthology of Evil will be Friday night at 10:30PM in one of the Programming rooms. Check your program for the exact location. In addition to me, we’ll have my lovely co-editor Emily (PeaFairie) on hand, plus contributors Bobby Nash, James Tuck, Jim Bernheimer, Darin Kennedy, Eden Royce, Nico Serence, Matthew J. Saunders, Jay Requard, S.H. Roddey and more! Come join us for cupcakes, libations and get your copy of The Big Bad autographed by as many people as possible. They’re like Pokemon – gotta catch ’em all!
2) On Saturday night, I will be hosting a Literate Liquors Live! event! This is more official programming, so check your con schedule for details, but we’ll be drinking with some of our favorite writers and talking about what booze goes best with what books. Bring your own designated driver!
Now let’s talk briefly about ideas. Brief because I’m exhausted from working a day job and designing a show this week. Avenue Q opens at Theatre Charlotte tomorrow, and I’ve been in tech all week. Special thanks to Misty and her son for coming out to help me work on the show last weekend. I really appreciate it.
I’ve found that if you’re short on ideas, it’s because you’re not paying attention. Writers are, at our hearts, observers. We look at the world and ask “What if?” We look at a lump in the bed and think “What if that wasn’t my wife, but an alien that had replaced her?”
We look at the cat and think “What if my cat suddenly grew opposable thumbs?”
I’d spend less time with a can opener and my cat would be obese. But I digress.
It’s not a matter of getting enough ideas, it’s a matter of storing them and retrieving them later. For this, I use a piece of software called Evernote. It syncs with my phone, web and desktop accounts, so I don’t have to be in any specific place to make notes, and I can access notes from anywhere. This lets me keep track of all those awesome ideas I get while driving. I can just make a voice note in my phone, and get it back later when I’m ready to write.
I do find that an inordinate number of my ideas come while driving or traveling. Maybe that’s because I’m paying more attention to my surroundings when I’m away from home, or maybe I just go awesome places. Who knows? But I do know that I need to take some way to scribble notes and outlines with me, no matter where I am. I’ve written outlines of novels waiting on a tire change, waiting for a dentist or just sitting in the hallway at a con.
Where are you when inspiration strikes? How do you keep the idea? I won’t be around in the comments too much because I’m designing another show tomorrow (today, I’m writing this Wednesday and posting Thursday through the magics of the interwebs!) and have limited computer access during load-in. But let me know what your favorite note-taking tool is. Do you have a special pen? Are you a tech-head like me?