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  • Writer's pictureKyle Lee

The Great Idea Notebook Debate


Yes, that is sensationalized. I don't think the ongoing debate about keeping a notebook of your ideas is a battle of the minds or wolves or dragons. Nothing suitably epic. You do or you don’t. In most cases, it is likely a matter of how one keeps themselves and their writing organized. Personally, I keep several notebooks. That in itself is an issue as my various ideas are scattered throughout my office and finding them without an index is problematic. Still, those ideas are saved somewhere. I mourn what I have forgotten, and I grieve what I'll never get back. I’ve lost more than I’ll ever find. However, there is a plus side to the scattering of those ideas in my estimation. Sometimes those previously disparate thoughts suddenly flirt with each other, and a great relationship is formed. Does this sound like something that could work for you? Is there a career in literary matchmaking at hand? The other side will tell you keeping an idea notebook is a folly and maybe even a waste. If I go to the Stephen King well (yes, again) he'll tell you that notebooks inevitably get put into a drawer and are forgotten about. Keep candy in that drawer. You'll have a reason to go back. I must admit I find myself shifting to different sides on this debate lately and I owe that to the "Godfather of Soul" James Brown. Somewhere in The Doom Scroll, I came upon a video in which he talked about technology. In his early days of hits, very few people had home studio setups and were more or less beholden to brick and mortar recording studios. Brown stated that he had a key to the building and an engineer on call. If he had a song in mind, he had to do it then. It needed to be recorded no matter what. Even his regular songs he would play different every successive concert. But those new ones were like a sandwich Some nights, that song was a BLT. Some nights, that song didn't need tomatoes. Some nights, he wanted to try something other than lettuce. Some nights, all bacon, all the time. When you write has just as much effect as what you write. That sonnet may be loving on Monday but vengeful by Friday. Where does that leave us with the Great Idea Notebook debate? That is all up to you and your workflow. But keep the main points in mind. Never let the idea die. Never have a reason not to go back. Make a sandwich.

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