Monday, January 13, 2014

A Writing Resolution: The Idea Jar

At the start of every new year, most of us make resolutions. For us writers, we think about what projects we want to complete, want to submit to agents/editors, want to self-publish, and the list goes on and on. For 2014, I decided to do one thing that would be playful and might actually create some great stories: start an Idea Jar.


On January 1, I started a Joy Jar. I keep a small pack of sticky notes with me throughout the day, and when anything arises that makes me smile or makes me happy (you know, those moments we typically experience at the moment, but then promptly discard), I write that moment onto a sticky note and place the note in the jar. When I have a rainy "mind" day, I can dip into the jar and remember happy moments I've experienced thus far. Doing so may hopefully put me in a better frame of mind.

My Joy Jar


I received these years ago, and now have a perfect use for them!

The Idea Jar works pretty much the same way.

All throughout the day, we see things that we think, That might make for a good story idea or project, but half the time we don't write them down. And when we do write them down, it's usually on a smartphone or tablet. I like the idea of a pen in the hand and a pen on paper. I've found myself returning to paper; I don't know. I guess it makes the writing process feel a bit more organic for me. You can, of course, create a digital Idea Jar, but I think the process of finding the perfect jar, breaking out markers to create a design on said jar, and buying nice sticky notes and a great idea pen would make for a rather fun endeavor.

Whether digital or in a physical jar, the Idea Jar can do several positive things for you as a writer.

It can make you cognizant of your life as a writer and thus see the world as a writer. So many of us get caught up in our daily activities and miss those moments that might spark a great story. Knowing that you have this Idea Jar can make you more aware of finding ideas in your everyday life.

Once you start collecting ideas for the jar, you'll have a nice arsenal of ideas to dip into when you're in between writing projects. Maybe you're taking a short break from writing the next novel, but you want to keep the writing muscles nice and warm. You can pick a note from the jar, set the alarm for 15 minutes, and do writing sprints for a quick creative workout.

You can also use the Idea Jar during those brutal moments of writer's block. If you're working on a project and find yourself stalled, then you can look to the Idea Jar to take a break from your current story yet still keep yourself in writing mode.

Who knows? In the short term, having an Idea Jar can keep you writing. However, in the long term, an idea from the jar can become a wonderful project to turn into a novel!


What writing resolutions have YOU made?

Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator, whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services and online programs at CLG Entertainment.

11 comments :

  1. What a lovely idea, Shon! Physically writing down our joys and our ideas puts us in touch with our writing in a way that the impersonal computer with its clouds and spam and e-mails and world events does not. Furthermore, even though the jar may crash to the floor, its contents will not be lost. Not so with a hard drive, where years of work and ideas may disappear in a moment when it suffers an untimely demise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly how I feel, Linda. I feel so much more connected to the thoughts I write when I have a pen in my hand.

      Delete
  2. I have an "Idea Board" where I put stick notes. Usually it's about the WIP to help me track plot points and threads, but I like the idea of 'generic ideas' and might flip the board over and use the back for that.

    Terry
    Terry's Place

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice, Terry! I have a digital idea board for the WIP that I'm working on.

      Delete
  3. That first graphic is a good depiction of my 'Idea Jar' ... after about six months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahahaha

      Now, I don't believe that for a minute, Chris.

      Delete
  4. I fell in love with the Sticky Notes on Windows 7, but used it so much I found out there is a limit to the number of them. Both are great ideas. Sometimes we need that gratitude jar to remind us that it has not been all tough times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. VERY true, Diana, which is why I started the joy jar. Easy to get bogged down in the seemingly darker moments that occur.

      Delete
  5. Wonderful ideas, full of light. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shon I simply adore this idea! I was just writing about the fact that I need three unrelated ideas to spark the kind of creative leaps of thought that will from the basis of a novel. How cool to fill the jar with anything from trinkets or activities that pique your interest to emotionally powerful material you witness—then pick out three and see what you come up with. Thanks for this post! Doing it!

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...