By in Writing

Writing Up a Mess - 1

Writing a mess - 1

Have you got problems writing a novel, an article or a paper or a report? Don't know where to start? How about starting with a good MESS?

Lots of Tips

I think this subject deserves a series, and rather than create one long article that people might get tired of reading, I am going to use these articles to illustrate how you can write up a mess and then get it into order.

Tip number 1 - Keep a notebook.

Now I know that's one that many people mention but it is an EXCELLENT tip. It doesn't have to be a big notebook, I have a tiny one I keep in the back of my fanny pack (for American readers) / bum bag (for British readers) and a pen or pencil, so I can write in it, even with no access to computer or tablet. That notebook got me a PersonaPaper post this morning, on a conversation overheard on a train , right before this one.

I used to keep a file in work, many years ago, before we had any access to computers and every morning, when I arrived in, I wrote down ONE SENTENCE about something that had occurred to me during the drive to work. One day, it was a comment on how the snow clouds had seemed to follow me during the morning drive and I was able to incorporate that into a piece of fiction writing because those clouds had seemed menacing; and writing it down straight away kept the sense of menace within me that I wanted to give my readers.

By keeping a notepad and writing down a comment on something around you (even the weather) or a thought that has occurred to you, you are not having to sit down and think "I must write something", you are just noting down a comment or thought and by-passing that dreaded editor saying "That's no good .... snarl".

How Will This help me Write a Novel, Article, or Report?

It will all come together. I am using this technique to write a long piece of work, currently 80 pages and it has been written this way.

Next Tip - Keep a Journal

You can read the next tip here

And you can read tip number 3 here.

Image Credit »

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


suffolkjason wrote on September 10, 2014, 6:41 AM

That's a great tip. I enjoyed your "Overheard on the Train" post. I didn't know American's called them 'fanny packs'- it will make me smile whenever I see a bum bag.

MegL wrote on September 10, 2014, 7:03 AM

Thanks. I used to cringe when I read the term but it has a totally different meaning over there.

Shadi wrote on September 10, 2014, 12:41 PM

I used to do that when I was writing for Bubblews (I had a goal of writing 5 posts a day). I used my tablet for writing down topic ideas on the Notes app which is sync-ed with my laptop so I can access it easily when I get home.

MegL wrote on September 10, 2014, 1:26 PM

Yes, I used to keep a notebook by my bed to catch thoughts or dreams that can disappear so easily by morning. It's amazing how many can pass through your mind and get forgotten by morning if not written down. I still discover new ideas in old notebooks.

Feisty56 wrote on September 10, 2014, 4:02 PM

I use my little spiral bound notebook for everything, from jotting down ideas to keeping track of passwords. My day-to-day life is chronicled in the little journal, in phrases and sentences that often mean something only to me.

MegL wrote on September 10, 2014, 4:53 PM

Sounds like a version of Samuel Pepys.

Feisty56 wrote on September 10, 2014, 7:03 PM

I had to find out who Samuel Pepys was, lol. I don't think anyone would find the info I scrawl in my notebook to be even mildly interesting, so I'm not seeing it as any road to fame for me.

AliCanary wrote on September 15, 2014, 9:33 PM

I used to keep a notebook, but got out of the habit, mostly. This makes me wanna carry one again, and also maybe carry a sketchbook, as well. I need to get out more! I'm laughing at "fanny pack" / "bum bag", not just because I've never heard the term "bum bag" and I think it's hilarious, in more ways than one. I know that British people use "bum" to mean "butt" (now I'm envisioning the term "butt bag" and laughing even more, because I am a ten-year-old boy), but we generally associate it with layabouts, ne'er-do-wells and hobos, so I kind of picture that handkerchief-tied-to-a-stick thing that cartoon hobos carry, as far as the term "bum bag" goes.

Another reason it's funny is that in the US, "fanny" means "butt", but in the UK it means...ummmm, the front part, lol. Which is actually fairly appropriate, since we normally sling those things in the front, anyway ;)

AliCanary wrote on September 15, 2014, 9:54 PM

PS - Just shared this on Facebook; now running off to check out Part 2!

MegL wrote on September 16, 2014, 12:38 AM

Yes, American and British English can be very different, hilariously so at times!

MegL wrote on September 16, 2014, 12:38 AM

AliCanary thank you very much

paigea wrote on September 16, 2014, 6:25 PM

I do scribble ideas down as they come to me. That's a good idea to make a point of writing that one sentence when you arrive at work.

BarbRad wrote on September 17, 2014, 12:15 AM

I usually keep a notebook or something to write on with me, especially by my bed. I always get thoughts before I fall asleep.

Ruby3881 wrote on November 12, 2014, 4:42 AM

You never know when the ideas in that notebook will come in handy!

MelissaE wrote on March 31, 2015, 7:23 AM

I do keep a notebook. I need to utilize it more than I do. Great series idea and development.

HappyLady wrote on July 17, 2015, 5:28 PM

I do keep a notebook and it does help. Good to see a series developing

CoralLevang wrote on October 10, 2015, 2:44 AM

I have shared this. I have bookmarked it. Thank you!

MegL wrote on October 10, 2015, 7:15 AM

Thank YOU!