23 July 2011

Advantage - Nightstand

Sometimes, a freaky dream will catch us by surprise. These dreams might offer sparks toward a present work in progress, or they might offer an idea for a new work. Either way, we want to save what our unconscious threw out for processing.

I don’t know about others, but my writing space is the opposite side of the house from my bed. For me, it’s not always possible to get from the bedroom to the writing space to preserve the unconscious commentary that a dream offered. So how do I catch these snippets that I’m offered? I keep a legal pad and several pens handy.

I’d advocate keeping a notebook or journal on your nightstand along with a pen or pencil. This way, when that startling revelation of the next scene appears, you can reach out and scribble it down without losing it.
What’s that? Your nightstand is already overloaded? Worse, you don’t have a nightstand? No worries, having it beside your bed won’t harm things either.

Well, it won’t unless you have a pet who decides to do something untoward with items left on the floor.

Let’s talk about that overloaded nightstand, see if we can find space for this journal. I’m not suggesting that the journal needs to be a notebook holding the standard size, loose-leaf paper. After all, how could we fit that with the combination lamp, iPod™ docking station, clock, cell phone charging unit that we already have? If we don’t have an e-book reader, it also has to compete with the stacks of literature and non-fiction we’re trying to consume during our down hours. (The osmosis thing isn’t working for me.) Then there’s the pen. It has to be the right pen. You’ll need it to have the comfortable grip. It must be equipped with the smooth tip that allows it to flow along the page.

We’re over-thinking this.

All you need is a small spiral bound notebook or bound journal. Unless you don’t feel you can write on something small, it doesn’t need to be more than a quarter the size of a regular piece of paper. (In the US, that means 4.5 inches by 5.5 inches.) If you’re trying to keep from losing ideas during the day, this might even be the same notebook you carry everywhere. You’re pen can slip into the spiral binding. Voila! Everything consolidated in a small package. Set it on its edge rather than lay it flat and it can slip into a narrow gap between other items.

The secondary option comes from everyone having a smart phone. You’ll have some type of composition or notes application that can also function for your needs. Some writers might even do both, have a paper copy and an electronic copy. For those of us who don’t have great hand writing, the electronic copy might even make the early morning scribbles easier to read.

To let you see into my concept, I’ll offer what I have. I have a standard size legal pad. Gathered in a cup with it are pens of five different colors. The multiple colors allows me to split up what the dreams are about for filing purposes. This legal pad usually sits on top of the novels and writing books I’m working on reading. Right now, that’s Dead by Day by Charlaine Harris and Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Seger.

Today's post was inspired by the topic “What Books Are on Your Nightstand?”, the opening question in the inaugural cycle of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author's blog to author's blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s posting over at: http://www.sjreisner.com/

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what's on their nightstand, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com/

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