It can be a good idea to create a journal or a notebook of ideas. I know it’s helped me though the years. The ideas you jot down can be something you’re working on now, or something you’re going to work on in the future. If you try to keep everything in your mind, you may lose some really great ideas if you don’t jot them down; I know this has happened to me in the past so I try to jot down ideas as soon as they come to me.

I keep one spiral notebook just for new ideas. These can be vague ideas that come to me or they could be an idea for a story, novel, or series I’m working on. For the projects that I’m working on, I keep a separate spiral notebook with notes, any sketches or maps I’ve made, the general outline for the book I’m writing (my outlines usually¬†run from¬†five to twenty pages), any research I’ve done or still need to do, and then the first draft I’m working on.

I keep notebooks on all of the projects I’m working on because I usually work on several projects at the same time. And even though I’m working on a few projects, that doesn’t mean that other ideas won’t come to me, so I want to have the “New Work” (as I call it) spiral notebook handy in case I need to jot an idea down that I may use in a story or novel later on. Sometimes these ideas can be a plot idea, or a scene that pops into my mind that has no place yet, or a few lines of dialogue, or an interesting character or backstory. I may never use some of the stuff I’ve written down, but it’s there if I need it.

Along with keeping a notebook for ideas that come to me, I also create to-do lists for the months. And I create a list of goals I want to accomplish for the year, but it’s easier to break things down to each month. Do I get everything on my list done each month? No. Never. But the list of things I want to get done is something to aim for. If I get blocked on a project I’m working on, I can move on to another project for a little while, or I can work on advertising and promotional schedules, or some research I need to get done.

For those of you who hate to work with pen and paper, feel free to keep your idea notebook as a file in your computer or writing software. I can’t recommend which way is the best because I still use spiral notebooks for my ideas and usually for my first drafts.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Next month in the Writing Tips we will tackle the writing of the first draft of your novel, and I’ll reveal my new list for my Halloween blog.

Until next time . . .