Yesterday’s post almost didn’t happen.
It was looking pretty good to begin with. My son fell asleep pretty quickly, and I was in front of the keyboard by nine. Given it takes me about an hour to write a post, I figured I’d be in by ten at the latest—something I haven’t managed to do in months.
At a quarter past eleven, with little more than a title (and a bad one at that), I was ready to give up. I even tapped out a few paragraphs about how I couldn’t think of anything to write about, just so could post something up. But then I spotted the book I bought last night, connected it with an idea I had a few weeks ago, and the rest was frantic typing.
This happens a lot when I write. I’ll have a topic I want to write about, but it needs something else before I can get it to work properly. Once I find the combination that works, the writing is pretty easy.
But last night I had nothing to begin with, and nothing leapt into my mind to fill the void.
What I needed was a list of ideas I could draw from. I have one of those lists. In fact, I have dozens of them. Unfortunately I can never find them when I need them most.
Last year I bought half a dozen or so spiral-bound notebooks. The idea was to have one in my pocket at all times so I could write down ideas whenever they popped into my head. (“Bring pillow to next budget meeting.”) Unfortunately they kept snagging on the mesh pockets of my shorts, so I stopped using them.
(And before I go any further, the shorts were your standard, run-of-the-mill shorts, okay? It was the pockets that were mesh.)
At one stage I had a digital tape recorder, and I thought it would be a great way to store my ideas. But I felt really stupid talking into it in public, so that idea didn’t last very long at all.
I now have an iPhone, which I can use to type out my ideas. But it can be a real pain to whip out and start typing on, especially if I’m in the middle of a game of Line Up.
And of course I have dozens of ideas in files scattered across my computer’s hard drive (with meaningful names like “Ideas” and “Stuff”).
What I need is a way to bring all this stuff together in one place, and have it with me wherever I go so I can refer to it when I need an idea, and quickly add ideas as they come to me. It needs to be easy to use, small enough to fit in a pocket, and preferably waterproof. (You have no idea how many notebooks I’ve lost in the wash.)
If you know of such a thing, please let me know. It will help me not only write better blog posts, but also catch up on some much-needed sleep.