I’ve been working on my novel lately (yes, it’s going very well, thank you) and have mainly managed to avoid the bogged down feeling writers sometimes get when they take on a large project. My first novel, the unpublished Harvestman, suffered from that fate — it took me years to compose it, primarily because the task was so big that often I just didn’t know what happened next.

This is similar to the problem screenwriters run into when they wade into Act II of a script. There’s so much white space up ahead that it’s daunting, and that fear (the only thing I can call it) can very easily shut your creativity down. And you get stuck.

So I did some research and found Scrivener’s, a software tool that helps writers get organized. Notes, storyboards, images, web links, et cetera are all easily categorized and filed away, so they’re always close at hand. Having the ability to access all that info (rather than a long, messy document with all sorts of formats and files) really does help in the writing process. It allows one’s (okay, my) imagination to bloom, to work unfettered of the worry of organization.

Disciplined idea management, I’ve learned, is key; the last thing a writer needs is to be unable to access or reach a certain place in the imagination just because she can’t find it, or heaven forbid, forgets about it. These are castles in the sky we’re building — one chain of conceptual logic depending upon another, and to lose potentiality just because we weren’t able to keep all of the ideas distinct while yet supporting each other is unacceptable.

So, I’m not trying to make a commercial for Scrivener’s here. Rather, I’m hoping to highlight the value of keeping good — and well organized — notes. It’s like a map — good to have a well-presented, realistic view of where you are, and where you’re going.

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