Capturing Ideas by Author Annmarie Miles

Annmarie2Welcome back Author Annmarie Miles this month as she discusses how important it is for writers to capture little moments in our lives that could lead to fantastic story lines. You never know when your observations will become a best-seller. Enjoy!


Capturing Ideas

I was on a panel of writers last year as part of an arts festival. I had been taking notes all through the discussion, my notebook and pen poised at every moment. Then one of the speakers said something along the lines of … ‘I’m not one of those nutty people who constantly have a notebook in their hands taking everything down.’ The audience laughed as I casually tried to hide my notebook … and my red face.

My notebook is never far from me, or should I say notebooks. I’ve got one beside my bed – which I scribble into in a haze of sleep and then try to understand my hieroglyphics the next day. I’ve always got a pen and notebook in the car; plus one in my handbag and one in the laptop bag …

Now, you may be starting to side with the speaker at the arts festival and think I’m the ‘notebook’ version of crazy cat lady 🙂 but I’m constantly gathering short phrases, jotting down ideas, even drawing sketches – and I’m no artist. It’s all fodder for stories and blog posts; most of it won’t be used, but in there somewhere there’s always a nugget I can work on.

The other place I’m always taking notes is on my phone. The notes section of my phone is full of bits and bobs of ideas. Every so often I gather them up and pop them in the computer; but they always stay in the phone. Better to have them twice than not at all. I also record messages on my phone. It’s quicker than typing, and sometimes I can capture the same thing in a few different ways by saying it a few times into the recorder.

I encourage you to scribble daily. An idea, a list, a thought, a snippet of a conversation you hear, capture it all!

Annmnarie!A few things to note about keeping notes …

It’s not like journaling or keeping a diary. As long as you know where all your notebooks are, the contents can be as random and disorganised as you like

It can be a paragraph one day and two words the next. It’s all about a capturing those random thoughts and story ideas before they fall out of your head – you can make sense of them later

Don’t think, ‘oh I won’t bother, I’ll remember that’. Chances are you won’t remember, so write it down.

Some times when your mood is different, a particular thought or idea seems irrelevant. Resist the temptation to cross it out or trash it. You never know when it might come in handy

Make sure to go through the notebooks every so often and see what gems are in there that you can use; then mark the ones you’ve used.

I’ve got a number of stories whose origins come from scrappy notes I captured in some notebook or other. Two of these stories, I send as free gifts when folk sign up to my website. One came from notes I made when I was at a wedding. Another was came from a couple of sentences I jotted down after someone told me they were leaving their job (and delighted to be doing so). Scribbling notes is such a habit for me now; I’m always doing it.

If you’re interested in reading the finished products go to and sign up to the mailing list. I’ll send them on.

So do you take notes? Have you a notebook near you at all times? I’d love to hear how you capture your ideas…


Annmarie MilesAnnmarieAuthor is 40something, Irish, Christian, married, and proud to be all of those things. She loves words, music & chocolate! You can find out all about her and her book “The Long & The Short of It” at the new website:

Where to find Annmarie:
Facebook page:
Google+: auntyamo
Twitter: @amowriting
Personal Blog:
Writing Blog:

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