The Organized Writer: The Trusted System, Part 2

by Jeff Abbott on December 11, 2008

Lest you all think that I am nothing but a collection of finely tuned gears that runs at a constant peak proficiency of organizational Zen, a reminding peril of not having the trusted system close at hand. . .one of my sons is home sick today, so while he rested, I stayed at the kitchen table, working on research for the next book. I was web surfing (and I’ll talk about doing research in a forthcoming post). My wife was out running errands and right as I hear the garage door going up that let me know she was home, I am struck by an Idea of Such Grandeur and Perfection for something in the book that I needed to record it immediately. She was bringing in a metric ton of groceries and I would need to update her on our son’s health, and I know from experience that if I get into conversations I will forget the Big Idea.
But my notebook was in my studio. I’d forgotten it. Aaaaahhh! I felt panic and fear and every other single word I’ve used for a title.
My wife struggles in, carrying a load, and I’m not helping her, saying: Have to get idea down NOW, and trying to find a place to write it where I won’t lose it because it wasn’t in the trusted system. I wrote myself a note in Tinderbox, which I use to outline the books. It’s safe there, although it really needs to go into the notebook.
My wife understands. Thank God for her.

    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    Kristan December 11, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Haha! This is why I leave notepads and pens in certain key places around the house.

    Ann Victor December 11, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    Haha! That sounds so familiar! My poor husband is used to me shouting at him (in panic and fear and every other title you’ve ever used for a book!) “Wait! Don’t say anything! Idea! Idea!” He freezes like a rabbit in the headlights and then patiently waits until I finish scribbling.
    It always made me feel quite rude until I read in Coleridge’s notes that he couldn’t finish Kubla Khan because he was called away at a crucial moment and on his return he had nothing more than a dim recollection of his Great Idea.

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