No Small Ideas, Just Little Notecards

index-cardsTake a moment to gaze upon the index card.

So perfect in its simplicity. So unassuming.

$2.49 (+tax) for 180 of these beauties, tiny treasures that are friends and assistants to the public speaker, the writer, the attention-deprived, and so many others.

If only you would just pause in your day to consider it.

Perhaps you haven’t thought about index cards since the high school debate team or college final presentations. You might be missing out.

I’m writing a book. That’s another story. But it’s non-fiction, which means step one is a detailed outline and then a book proposal. There’s a lot of stuff to organize. You don’t think I’m going to do that in my head, do you?

And yes, I’ve extolled the joys of the Moleskine notebook. I wouldn’t be caught naked or dead without mine (preferably in softcover, cahier-style, red).

But my attention span—it’s not good.

Give me 180 pages of clean, crisp, lined paper, and I’ll go nuts, but most likely never again find the one sentence I’m looking for.

Give me 180 tiny little cards, and then I’ve got a system.

So one 3×5 card, one idea. A chapter topic. Or sub-topic. Or a first sentence. Or a single funny quote. Each one alone is a tweet at best but collected in a stack, the book takes shape!

index file

In the end, you have 180 tiny ideas, easy to contemplate one at a time: Pile them up, sort them out. Next, take your 4×6 cards and create a dozen or so main ideas, chuck the accumulated piles of tiny ideas on top.

It’s so simple, and it works for everything. Writing outlines. Lesson plans. Decorating ideas. Party planning. Brainstorming.

There is no creativity without organization.

There is no organization with ADD.

There is no ADD when there is a system.

The muse needs notecards. That is all.

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This entry was posted in Creativity, Editing, inspiration, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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