How do you keep track of your story ideas?

2015_July_story_ideasOver at the excellent Nathan Bransford blog, there was a great question for authors: How do you keep track of your ideas?

This isn’t as easy as it might seem. Writers are – by their very nature- daydreamers, and they may have lots of ideas flitting around in their heads at any one time. Any one could make the next great story, but will the author manage to remember them?

Nathan says when he gets ideas he tends to e-mail them to himself to keep track of them. I’ve heard others who use this method. I know authors who maintain elaborate spreadsheets, types of card catalogue files with details,  impressive notebooks with character sketches.

Sometimes I jot down ideas in a  handy notebook – generally if they come to me late at night and I’m worried I might lose the idea all together.

But up until now I’ve used the less organized method of simply keeping all those story ideas swirling uselessly in my alarmingly overtaxed brain cells. I imagine it’s only a matter of time until I draw a complete blank with the multiple story ideas clanging around in my head in the (misguided?) belief that the one I’m meant to be writing now will rise up to the top of the messiness and let itself me known to me. Scary, isn’t it?

Maybe I should invest in a notebook, and start writing down brief outlines of my ideas.

What about you, writers? What methods do you use to keep track of your story ideas? What do you think works best for you?


  1. ledrakenoir on July 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Makes me think of one of my good old friends – I often have several projects going at the same time – then she laughs and reminds me that men can’t multitasking as well as women… 😀

    • kimberlysullivan on July 19, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Haha… at the risk of sounding sexist, I tend to agree with your friend. : )

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