I was in the shower yesterday when an idea hit me like a pair of lard-filled pantyhose dropped from a skyscraper.
Since I wasn’t in the mood to run dripping and naked down the hall for a notepad, I did what most writers in my position would do.
I scrawled it on the glass shower door with a broken piece of soap.
That evening, I saw Pythagoras studying it. “What does ‘gma gw wd bsd msct’ mean?”
The funny thing is, I knew exactly what it meant. By then I had already written a draft of the scene and found the idea to be perfect for what I’d hoped to accomplish.
There are oodles of tools on the market to help writers arrange their thoughts in an orderly fashion. There are special notebooks and software programs and gadgets whose primary function is to make us feel inadequate for not being more organized.
To be honest, I don’t know many writers who are very organized. Most of us, it seems, live our lives surrounded by scraps of paper we’ll spend hours squinting at in hopes of determining whether we’re looking at a brilliant plot twist or a reminder to schedule a pap smear.
I felt better about this recently when I stumbled upon a blog entry by my idol, Jennifer Crusie in which she posted a photo of her office. If the grand dame of romantic comedy can write masterpieces in a workspace like that, there’s hope for the rest of us.
Pictured at right is my trusty palm pilot. Please note my highly complex system for separating shopping lists from general household errands and more complicated plot ideas.
OK, admittedly the color-coding was an accident. It’s less a system of organization and more a matter of which pen I grab when an idea strikes, but it looks nice, doesn’t it?
The thing is, it works for me. My flesh and my work surfaces may be covered with words that look like gibberish, but they all mean something to me. More often than not, the system works.
How about you? Is your workspace a mess? Are you surrounded by a confetti of notes to yourself? Or are you one of those disturbingly organized writers the rest of us secretly want to smack? Please share in the comments.