Saturday, October 2, 2010

Capturing Ideas

Bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry
And them good ole' boys drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' this will be the day that I die...

I love this song. I don't mind if it replays in my mind all day. Other songs, I wish they'd leave my brain. Like the Barney song ("I love you, you love me"), or The Map song from Dora the Explorer ("If there's a place you wanna go, I'm the one you need to know").

Like songs, ideas ping in my head. So many ideas for fiction and nonfiction that I'm sure I'll never be able to write about them all. But I don't want to let those ideas fly out the window while I'm driving. What if I forget it later? What if that idea is "the one?"

I trap those ideas before they escape. I have a large 3-ring binder with several dividers. I've created sections for nonfiction, fiction, characters, setting, sensory details, etc. I have notebook paper scattered throughout my house, and I write the ideas down when they come to me. Then I file them away for future use.

How do you catch your ideas before they disappear? And what songs attach themselves to your brain like mold, refusing to let go?

I wanted to share some good news: I just received an acceptance from Highlights magazine! After many rejections, it was exciting to see an envelope with "contract" stamped on the outside.

photo credit: flickr

44 comments:

  1. Well done you! Hope you have lots more moments like this one and many more acceptances.

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  2. Wow posted twelve minutes ago and I'm not the first comment! :D Congrats again, I am SOOOOO happy for you. My ideas usually flow for about two hours starting at 3 or 4 AM. I never had insomnia before starting this writing stuff. But it's usually good stuff, so I don't mind. In some crazy (yes I admit I am crazy) way I look forward to that.

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  3. Wow, that's also for you! Although now I have that stupid map song stuck in my head.... Thanks! :(

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  4. Oh, and I have a small pad I keep with me always so I can write down ideas at any time and then I transfer them to the computer first chance I get.

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  5. Oh great now I have that song stuck in my head and I DO mind LOL. Congrats on getting accepted at Highlights!! I've been rejected by them many times, back when I was trying to break into the children's magazine market.

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  6. I tend to scribble my ideas on a random page in one of my many notebooks or on a piece of loose-leaf paper -- both of which are difficult to find later. :)

    And congratulations on your magazine acceptance!

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  7. I keep a separate journal for each of my writing projects, and jot down ideas, notes, research, that sort of thing, in there.

    And congrats on your Highlights acceptance, very exciting news, raising my coffee cup in a toast :)

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  8. Congrats on the Highlights offer! Awesome news!

    As far as notes go, I'm a post-it freak. I have color coded post-its everywhere in my house. On my desk, IN my desk, in notebooks...yeah, I get a little peeved when I can't find one, but the process has worked so far. To each their own. :)

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  9. Congrats Julie..thats great news! *Hugs*

    I keep a scribbling pad in my purse, beside my computer and one on my dressing table. Can't afford to let those ideas fly away. :)

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  10. Oh my goodness!!!! SQUEE!!! We're SO happy for you, Julie! Way to go! :)

    M&M

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  11. You can never go wrong by jotting down your ideas. Mine always seem to hit at some inoportune time, like when I am in the shower!

    Jane

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  12. Congratulations! That's awesome.
    And I use music to help embed an idea in my head.

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  13. Congratulations!!

    I like using music to lure ideas from my imagination. I have notebooks everywhere. I write ideas, thoughts, one liners, characters, metaphors...whatever pops into my head. Needless to say, I have a ton of papers.

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  14. Hurray on the Highlights! I was just looking at one in the Doctor's office last week and thinking about ordering a subscription some year for my grandson. Whoo hoo!!

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  15. Congratulations, Julie!!!

    I keep a little notebook in my purse and by my bed and I have a 5-subject divided into sections for ideas. I write them down as soon as I can! Though sometimes I've been remiss thinking I'll remember later, and of course I don't, haha. I also have a filing drawer where I file articles or pictures that have inspired ideas.

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  16. Good for you - that's awesome news!! :)

    I love American Pie - don't mind it getting stuck in my head either!

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  17. The song that gets stuck in my head...."This is the song that never ends...yes it goes on and on my friends. Some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they keep on singing it forever just because..."

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  18. Congrats on Highlights! What great news!

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  19. Congratulations, Julie!
    I've had 'Ghost riders in the sky' playing in my head lately. It's a very visual line - I see it clearly.

    I put my ideas straight into the computer. If they're relevant to what I'm working on (some new spark) I key them in at the end of the doc.

    Good luck for many more of those happy envelopes!

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  20. Julie - great news on the acceptance from Highlights!!! That's wonderful. Check out my post from today if you have time - there's a shout out to you:)

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  21. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Highlights. Avid reader from 5 years old til I was .... way too old. My kids [now 18 and 20] used to tire of my references to goofus and gallant. Now I have an excuse to pick up an issue :)
    Congrats!

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  22. Julie! Congrats on Highlights! Hands down, one of the best publications for kids.

    Trapping ideas? I always carry a notebook and in a pinch I can record/write a note on my cell phone. I've sent myself text messages and e-mails. Once I left myself a voice mail from a friend's phone. Any port in a storm. :-)

    Again, congratulations on your good news.

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  23. Congrats on the Highlights acceptance! That's awesome!

    I'm a notebook keeper too. I'll jot down an idea and put it in a file in my cabinet. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  24. Mine go on sticky notes or scraps of the nearest envelope, then hopefully I don't lose them before they get entered into my computer under all the same sorts of files you have in your binder.

    Oh, and I am a huge 'name-collector'. Whenever I hear a good name, it goes right into the file!

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  25. I am SO happy for you! Highlights. . .it's awesome. I'm going to have to start ordering it for my daughter so I can read you. :)
    I get Dora song's stuck in my head: "I'm a map, I'm a map, I'm a map Im a map..." and the song from Yo Gabba Gabba a lot!
    I have a note pad app on my phone. If I'm not at a place where I can write, I just put my ideas in my phone.

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  26. YEAH, Julie! This is fabulous news, and I can't wait to read your articles in Highlights!

    When writing book #1, there were two songs that played over and over in my head: TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE by Boys Like Girls, and I GOTTA FEELING by Black Eyed Peas.

    Cool post, thanks for sharing!

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  27. Well done with Highlights, that's really cool!

    As for catching ideas... it's usually the back of my hand or whatever article I'm supposed to be reading. I get the bouncing around your head thing. I get that especially with fic ideas, which I think is largly because I don't give HP fic ideas much of an outlet anymore... Ah well.

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  28. Great news, Julie!!!

    And those two songs often go on infinite repeat in my mind too, and I wish they would just leave me around. I do think they make these toon songs to irritate us.

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  29. Congratulations. Very exciting about Highlights.

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  30. Congratulations on Highlights! So awesome. Way to persist.

    If an idea stays in my head for longer than a day I start a file on my computre and jot down the ideas.

    And I love that song too! (Not the Barney one)

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  31. That is so exciting about your offer from Highlights!! Congrats!

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  32. Congrats on your Highlights article! How exciting!

    Believe it or not, I get most of my ideas in the car during my work commute. So I've had to carry a tape recorder so they won't disappear.

    And that apple pie picture is really speaking to me right now. LOL.

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  33. Congratulations on Highlights, Julie! I have to keep a note pad handy at all times to catch those creative thoughts. Sometimes I have to get up in the middle of the night to do it, but that's the most important time not to miss because they are gone by morning!

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  34. Great post! And congratulations on the Highlights article. I keep a small notebook with me at all times, and also have a three ring binder for ideas, articles, etc... I've also started using a voice recorder ap on my iPhone when I'm sitting in traffic. I've captured some great ideas on my worse mornings!

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  35. Congratulations on Highlights - that's awesome, and well-deserved!

    I have a folder in my computer called "idea dump." Whenever I get an idea I put it there, even if it's just the name of a character or a title of a story. I also always keep a small notebook in my purse in case the idea strikes when I'm away from my computer.

    And I agree with Connie - I often get ideas at night as I'm (trying) to fall asleep. Then I have to write them down right away, because they are never as potent if I wait until morning.

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  36. Ooh.. congratulations!!!

    I usually jot down my ideas, either on post-its or in my notebook.

    Ayee.. and there are way too many songs that always seem to be getting stuck in my head, yet I can't think of even one right now!

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  37. Woo-hoo! Congratulations! I love HIGHLIGHTS...keep us posted about when your issue publishes.

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  38. Congrats on Highlights, Julie! Hooray!!

    Amy

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  39. Hey, Julie! I've been kinda scarce lately but hope to change that in the next week.

    Congrats on Highlights! I LOVED that magazine when I was a kid and always wanted a subscription to it.

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  40. I'm so happy I found your blog! :) And so happy for your Highlight's contract! Congratulations!!

    I keep a tiny voice recorder in my purse. Most of my ideas come while I'm driving around and it's easy to pop that out and click a button. Unless, of course, the batteries are dead. ;)

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  41. Congrats on the Highlight's contract. :D

    You deserve it!

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  42. yay - congrats julie on your accepted article!

    and once again - another great post on ideas and writing~

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  43. I have notebooks and sticky notes.

    Congratulations on your article. Highlights has been around for years & is highly respected so it's an excellent writing credit. It's also great that you received such an obvious acceptance w/ the word CONTRACT on the outside of the envelope!

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