Eternal Nightmare of the Scruffy Mind: Organizing a Brainstorm

Brainstorm Christopher WalkenI have ideas – too many, perhaps. Sometimes these ideas are specific and enhance existing work, while other times they are flights of fancy limited to a word, a scene, or even a line of dialogue for an unwritten work.

In my Navy days, PDAs were cost-prohibitive and smartphones didn’t exist, but my trusty green notebook was always at the ready. If I was near one of my full-size college notebooks, I would take the time to elaborate on these ideas and go so far as to sketch out relevant objects, locations, or symbols. A lot of the time spent was for roleplaying games, but it helped me learn to organize and develop ideas from conception to creation.

Nowadays, everything I do is digital, which also helps to pre-organize my scruffy thoughts; only in the rarest cases do I break out the old notebook method. Such a task requires the requisite window shopping and purchase of said notebook to empower the pages for their sacred purpose: to be the vessel through which creation will take place until it is fully formed – well, at least until the editing phase.

For the writers and creators out there: what habits have you developed or rituals do you follow to get the ideas flowing, organized and prepared for their day in the starlight?