Saturday, April 30, 2016

Receipt Holder into Idea Saver: How I Keep Track of Ideas

A few months ago...after looking in my archive, I should revise that statement to over a year ago (time flies apparently), I wrote a post talking about how I keep track of my ideas. You can read it here, if you so desire. Essentially, I got myself a receipt holder to keep tracks of the slips of paper where I write down my ideas. I was never good at keeping a notebook to jot ideas down, so instead I just use whatever paper's available and consolidate everything into my receipt holder folder. There's been way too many ideas that I've lost because I didn't write them down. This is a sentiment that I'm sure you can relate to.

Although I had high hopes for my idea saving method last year, it was a bit rough around the edges (literally), so I thought it was time to introduce my new idea saver.

The method is the same, but I really needed a new folder to hold my ideas. Although my DIY one on the left is all bookish and cool, it was falling apart. The glue never really help the paper down properly (see the taped edges) and the elastic was stretched out. I just didn't feel like it could safely be carried around. So I hoped over to Walmart (knowing that I could get something cheap there) and picked up this coupon holder/receipt keeper.

This works great because it's sturdy and has a bit of extra room, which really helps when I'm jotting ideas down on any scrap of paper that might be a strange size. The other nice thing about this folder is that it allows me to break down my ideas into customizable categories.

Right now I have mine set up like so:
"Library ideas" are all the thoughts I have surrounding my current project.
"Fantasy" covers any magical ideas that I might have. Since I'm not writing in that genre, I wanted to keep track of them for later.
"Forms" is my ideas surrounding different ways a story can be written.
"Blog Ideas" is pretty self explanatory.
"Characters" is a section dedicated to interesting traits or bits of backstory that don't really fit into my current project.

This nice thing about this is that I still have many empty pockets that I can fill.

You can tell what I've been working on, haha.

Right now, this folder stays in my desk drawer and over the course of the day as I collect my scraps, I stow them in my pockets. At the end of the day I usually end up chucking them on my desk and eventually they make it into the folder. I love to know that if I'm traveling or writing somewhere else, I can just stow this folder in my purse and not have to worry about it falling apart.

I wanted to share my way of keeping track of ideas once again, because I feel like it really helps keep me on track. It's so much easier to write when you've created a stock pile of ideas to draw on. Maybe my method (that I stole from an author I heard speak) will help you keep track of your ideas.

I'm always curious to know how other people keep track of their ideas, so please share you method in the comments. As always, let me know what you think of my pocket to desk to folder method!

Reading: Cosmopolis Toronto: The World in One City by Colin Shafer
Watching: The 100
Listening: Watchmojo YouTube videos in the background


  1. That's really interesting because it's something I would never use. Allow me to explain. I don't usually write ideas and stuff down on paper, I'd write it on my hand so I couldn't lose said piece of paper. The idea would then get transfered from my skin to a document on my computer where I keep of all my official ideas. If it was on a paper for some reason, it'd go on My Wall of Utter Procrastination (which is basically part of my wall that I've sticky tacked papers relating to my writing on) but usually I specifically write ideas for my Wall (sometimes from what I've written on my hand).

    The thought of having all those random pieces of paper floating around an organizer just stresses me out. I used to have everything in a binder but I'm a very visual person and I needed to be able to step back and see stuff, hence My Wall of Utter Procrastination.

    I'm glad your method works for you (and it certainly is beautiful), but it's just not something that would work for me :/

    1. That's a really interesting method! Thank you so much for sharing that. I totally understand the visual element that you're talking about. Sometimes I wonder if I should make mine more visually stimulating. The binder idea is intriguing.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Ohh this is such a nice and tidy way to keep track of ideas! I LOVE IT. (I also adore that picture *pets laptop screen*) Ahem. I really want to organise my ideas better, eeek. My blog ideas go onto the sticky note app on my laptop screen. My book ideas go into Scrivener or onto actual physical sticky-notes stuck to my wall. YUP. TO MY WALL. There are like 30+ of them now and my room is going to look like a paper house soon. 😂 And just the other day I found a note on my ipod with a TON of forgotten ideas. Gahhh. I need to organise myself better!! :P

    1. Haha, thanks! I used to use the sticky note app on my screen, but I found that it would get so messy that I had to find another way.

      I've heard lots of good things about Scrivener. I'd love to try it, but I don't think I'd use it enough to get my money's worth, haha.

      Good luck with finding your perfect solution!

  3. O.O

    Oh. My. Gosh.


    I just

    Oh wow.




    okay. I'm calm. You kidding? So calm. XP

    Thank you for sharing this!!! <3

    1. I'm so glad that you like it! I felt the same way when I first hear of this method! The best thing is that little blue folder was only a couple of dollars, so it shouldn't take you too long to save up:)

      I had a little laugh over your comment, so thanks for sharing it, haha!

  4. This is a nifty idea! I usually write my ideas on my phone, but I've also written stuff on scraps of paper. XD I may have to adopt this.

    1. Thanks! I hope it works as well for you as it did for me:)

  5. Oh, this is such a good idea! I should try something like this. Usually when I get an idea I jot it down on a Post-It note, in a random notebook, or in my phone, depending on where I am. Obviously not the best method of gathering ideas. This is genius though!

    1. Haha, I'm glad you thought so! I was just like you, with ideas everywhere until I used this method. I still have my moments where everything is disorganized, but I try to make sure it all ends up in the folder.

  6. Wow, that's really cool! I tend to write down ideas on scraps of paper, but instead of putting them in a card case I put them in a notebook, so they won't have any chance of falling out. I don't organize them, either, but that's okay. Usually my ideas are too silly to use. xD

    1. That's a really good idea too! I like the idea of not having to manage the scraps. Maybe I should try that sometime.

      Ideas always seem silly, until suddenly they don't and they seem awesome. Hope you come up with something great!

  7. Love this! I tend to cry "I'll remember!" and ... well, I'm sure you can imagine how that goes! I have a planning notebook for my novel, and a general story notebook, and normally I just work on the principle of "if the idea's good, it'll stick". Which probably isn't an ideal one, but .... !

    How big is the folder? It looks quite small.

    1. Every. Time. The other day I remember thinking, this idea is so great that I don't need to write this down, but do I remember the idea? No.

      That's an interesting method that you have. I like the idea of having the two separate notebooks. My folder is pretty small, but it's part of the appeal to me. It's about 5 x 7 inches:)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...