Tag Archives: notes

What I’ve Done This Week #7…

When my marriage broke down and I moved out in 2013 I left my computer, and with that decision, lost a lot of my words.

I didn’t leave any completed stories behind, but there were thousands of words of notes and excerpts from things I was working on, along with interesting snippets that I had written down along the way that I didn’t have a place for at the time of writing. None of it was gold, I’m sure, but I’ve managed to work a lot of those rough notes into decent stories over the years, so it’s a loss that still hurts today.

Since then I have been a lot more careful about anything I write. It’s saved in multiple places – emailed to myself, or written onto a disc.

Recently I came across a couple of paragraphs I had saved onto my phone. It was about memories – the beginning of a thought or perhaps a story idea, although (ironically) I don’t really remember.

I read over it, and after adding quite a bit to it with no real direction at all, an idea began to form. Before long, I had characters, a viewpoint, and – from the most innocuous of beginnings – a pretty good grasp of where I wanted to go with it.

And that’s a good feeling.

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Random Bits of Paper…

ideas41200x630bbI’ve kept many notes I’ve written over the years – from stories I’ve since had published, all the way down to stories that I never even got around to writing. Not yet, at least. Frighteningly, some of these notes and ideas go back to the early nineties. It’s so long ago, people actually liked OJ Simpson.

I went through a whole pile of stuff today, all of which I wrote before I had seen any of my words in print. Some notes and ideas are documented on A4 sheets of paper, but most are written on torn promotional leaflets, or the backs of supermarket receipts, such was the urgency of my thoughts two decades ago!

It’s interesting to look back at these things, and it’s certainly an eye-opener to see just how prolific my thoughts were in those days, but while it’s reassuring to see that I took any and every opportunity to write down a thought I considered potentially useful – no matter how trivial – it’s also sadly frustrating that there have been many moments since those days when I have not been nearly as eager to… do my job.

Sure, a lot of the ideas I thought were gold then are actually complete shit now – in fact some of them were bad even then, but there are a few diamonds in the rough there… a few of which I still intend to get around to at some point. Sometimes an idea needs to breathe first and live later.

A lot of my notes from those days are no more than a few words or a single line, completely devoid of context. This obviously meant something to me when I wrote it at 17, but it means nothing as I stare at the paper at 41. Even with a little creative hindsight, the best reason I can come up with as to why I wrote WHEN THEY WAKE UP I WILL DISAPPEAR, in isolation on a slip of paper, is nothing more than an approximation.

Still, sometimes the why is the most interesting part.