I’ve regularly mentioned note-taking and how writers find this so invaluable, almost compulsory, vital to jot, to scribble, to record to word-sketch, and I’ve regularly gone on from that to say my difficulties with it. To summarise – unintelligible handwriting, and undecipherable keyboard written notes. I should take more care, print, tap the keyboard more precisely, but the whole thing about notes is they’re done in a hurry, often described as scribbled notes – which literally describes my notes, often just a load of scribble.
Last time I wrote here about my notes and notetaking, I shared a list from my phone which I then used to write a story, so although I had no idea what the notes actually meant or what they referred to, at least I had a pleasing product from them! I hope maybe the same will emerge from another list I’ve found, this time some of them seem to be hints or suggestions of how as much as what to write:
- writing is an intuitive thing
- we start by exploring a vague idea
- write for you
- everyone has a story, everyone has a river
- she’s interested in water theatre
- blind podding
The first thing, that writing is an intuitive thing is true for me, but I’m sure many people, including other writers would say that it’s not. So often when I observe something, it’s immediately translated into a scene which I might use, the people become characters, the background becomes a set, a narrative other than what’s actually happening begins to form. Sometimes, in fact, I lose track of what is actually happening, or miss what someone is saying because my mind is turning what I’ve just seen into something else. Sometimes the idea sticks and becomes a story, sometimes it just fades away!
We start by exploring a vague idea – this sounds like something I might have said when I was leading a creative writing group. However, I often have vague ideas, as I’ve mentioned above, or maybe from something I have been thinking or wondering, or day-dreaming about. Sometimes it’s the ‘what if…’, the ‘supposing..’, the ‘I wonder what s/he was saying/doing…‘ I have these vague ideas all the time and play about with them, changing a person I’ve observed in real life from young to older, serious to fun, safe to dangerous, or moving a scene in one location to somewhere else, or changing a rainy day to a sunny day, playing with odd little wisps of idea.
Write for you – ok, so sometimes we have to write creatively for a specific purpose, in a lesson, in an exam, to a topic in a writing group or a subject for a competition. We can strive to write better, we can look at writers we admire and try not necessarily to emulate them, but to learn from them. But writing for yourself can mean writing the best you can but to your own standard, to please yourself, to have fun, to challenge yourself to write differently – or not! I suppose the aphorism be your own woman/man fits here, or as Polonius says it better ‘to thine own self be true’ – to thine own writing self be true!
Everyone has a story, everyone has a river – I’m not sure I can exactly explain this. Rivers have always been very important to me – I swam in rivers, boated on rivers, walked and cycled by rivers a lot when I was young. I keep trying to write about me and the rivers I’ve known, but never very satisfactorily. I’ll just have to leave this one with you to interpret for yourself!
She’s interested in water theatre – I have absolutely no idea what on earth I was thinking of, what it means, or how it has any relevance to writing and being creative. However, I will try to write a story which contains this idea if not these exact words… water theatre… hmmm…
Blind podding – no, not a typo for plodding, but podding, and another mystery. However I think I may have meant the type of writing that you do when you have no idea where you’re going, what’s going to happen, what type of person your character might be. In English exams, when the clock was against you, you knew what you were writing was probably without any sense or reason, but you had to keep going in the vain hope that you might please the examiner or they might have a brain-storm and see something of worth in your scribble, maybe that was blind podding. You had no real idea how you were meant to answer, but she carried on desperately, just in case your luck was in. I sometimes feel when I’m writing my stories and it’s all become a bit complicated, if I carry on going, I might be able to untangle the narrative knots and make something of it.
Next time I’m inspired to write a note, I must make more effort to make it intelligible.