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Index Cards: A Time-Wise Writer's Tool
Friday, April 2nd, 2010

This is for you writers out there…

When you’re on the go, you don’t have to carry the latest in digital gadgetry to get ahead on your Work-in-Progress (WIP).

What you might try doing for those short windows of time throughout your busy day, whether sitting in the dentist’s office or waiting for a school bus, is carry a stack of index cards in your purse. I like the colored ones (color inspires me all by itself). I keep them at the bottom of my bag with a rubber band around them. When I have those small windows, I pull them out and jot down notes—maybe a smattering of dialogue, notes about setting that I need to layer into a scene, the outline of a scene, whatever pops into my mind—on the card. It doesn’t matter where you might currently be in your WIP. You can lay out the cards later next to your plotting grid/outline to figure out where these snippets will fill in the blanks.

If you have your scenes plotted already, you can carry your grid/outline wrapped around your index cards. Number the scenes on the grid/outline and put the reference number at the top of the index card so that you can plop what you’ve jotted down into your manuscript at the appropriate place the next time you’re sitting in front of your computer.

If you need reminders of what your characters look like, jot down their descriptions on a card to keep permanently in the stack.

If you need a reminder where your were the last time you opened your document, and need to work sequentially through your manuscript (some of us are linear thinkers!), print that last page of your story, fold it in half lengthwise, and wrap it around your stack of cards.

Index cards can be a handy, transportable writing tool that won’t break your piggybank!

10 comments to “Index Cards: A Time-Wise Writer's Tool”

  1. Wesley Nichols
    Comment
    1
      · April 2nd, 2010 at 7:49 am · Link

    What is your next writing project?



  2. Delilah
    Comment
    2
      · April 2nd, 2010 at 8:12 am · Link

    After I finish wrapping up Beloved Captor, I will write the final chapter of Lone Star Lovers-3, then move on to SOW (my fae paranormal).



  3. Heather
    Comment
    3
      · April 2nd, 2010 at 9:55 am · Link

    I love index cards. I use them for my fiction writing and for my school work as well.

    I had to buy a new container to store my cards in.



  4. Delilah Devlin
    Comment
    4
      · April 2nd, 2010 at 9:57 am · Link

    Heather! Good for you! They are a great habit to make!



  5. Julie :)
    Comment
    5
      · April 2nd, 2010 at 12:36 pm · Link

    I love this idea! I have oodles of index cards (I use them for ‘to do’ lists) but keeping a stack in my purse will work perfectly. I’ve tried notebooks, but then I switch bags, forget the notebook, my intrepid 8-year-old swipes it, etc.



  6. Dennis Clarkston
    Comment
    6
      · April 2nd, 2010 at 6:14 pm · Link

    I love the idea myself. I use them to capture my ideas and build my stories. They help me keep things in order at times.

    One thing I do is build a mini reference book using one of those 4×6 photo brag books that one can get at Wal-Mart or other store. This holds anywhere from 24 through 36 photos. I take my 4×6 index cards and fill in information about the people, places, and events in my book that i need to keep straight. When I get stuck, I look at it.

    Dennis Clarkston
    AKA Clark Stone



  7. Delilah
    Comment
    7
      · April 3rd, 2010 at 6:32 am · Link

    Julie! When I’m away from my computer, I jot down the To Do’s on them too!

    Dennis! Excellent idea! If you have scene notes you can lay them out in order someplace you can keep them safe.



  8. Suzy R.
    Comment
    8
      · April 3rd, 2010 at 3:55 pm · Link

    Index cards are an excellent idea, small and handy to keep on hand when away from home and the computer…



  9. Scarlett Parrish
    Comment
    9
      · April 4th, 2010 at 4:54 pm · Link

    I’m a notebook snob. When I got my first contract I treated myself to a Moleskine. Insanely expensive for what they are – just notebooks – but they look good.

    If I used index cards (or post-its, for example) they’d end up covering the house and I’m a neat freak! I keep my scribblings in one place, although I am tempted to pepper my Moleskine with post-its too, because the different colours are so pretty…



  10. Delilah Devlin
    Comment
    10
      · April 6th, 2010 at 6:57 am · Link

    Suzy! Exactly!

    Scarlett! I love moleskin notebooks. Soft and suede-y. For a notebook, I like the convenience of Levenger’s notebooks because you can remove and replace pages so easily.