Organized thoughts? Is that a thing?
How do you organize thoughts?
Think about that for a second. Whether its for a project, a schedule, a workout, a vacation, how do you organize everything in your head about that particular thing into a way that makes sense enough for you to actually go forth and ‘do the thing’? If you’re my mother, you make a list. Growing up I can tell you there was at least one junk drawer in our kitchen with a cheap notebook in it that was filled with, you guessed it, lists. Grocery lists, to-do lists, lists of phone numbers… its a long list of lists.
When it comes to inspiration - when the Inner Muse chooses to speak - I can’t just operate off lists. I need at least three things to organize an idea - images, audio, and text.
If you were to look at my pinterest (this site is the lifeblood of my writing) you would find an abundance of pin boards specific to certain ideas. They may not make sense to you, but to me they are my guidebook into the worlds I have floating around in my head. Pin boards for Between Worlds - more specifically the entire Legend of the Starbreather series - is broken into sections such as character references, creature references, and aesthetic photos. It doesn’t stop there of course, but to tell you too much might spoil things!
My spotify is the same - playlists are dedicated to either the story’s aesthetic as a whole or songs specific to certain characters and scenes. Once again, these are things that don’t necessarily make sense without some sort of context to other people. To me these are the driving force behind the actual creation of the text.
Text is last, for me, because when it comes to writing plain lists tend to distract and overwhelm me. Much of Between Worlds was written through my high school and college years when I was waitressing and working a desk. Because of this, much of the early drafts and ideas were scribbled haphazardly onto sticky notes, napkins, waitressing tickets, and the corners or margins of study notes. Don’t get me started on a few years ago when I got a Samsung Note 4 phone that had a stylist. Doctors may have the worst handwriting in the world, but writers on the go definitely take second place. As I work now on book II of the series, I find more and more that I spread things out better on a giant white board - covered in sticky notes and in some cases joined by color coded ribbon.
Every creative mind is different. That's the beauty of art in all its forms - the act of creation itself is part of the art.
So, how do you organize thoughts?