NaNoWriMo Practice

A Net to Catch the Muse

What is your muse net?

In other words: how do you catch ideas? If you don’t have something in place, I promise you, you are losing a lot of ideas. I’m not saying you need to have a whiteboard in the shower (unless you do) but there’s a reason that pocket notebooks are such a big thing, why there are a zillion articles on how to best use EverNote, and why Ubiquitous Capture has gone beyond David Allen’s GTD program and into the realm of religious discipline.

Here’s the thing: ideas are slippery. If you don’t catch them when they come, you are very likely to lose them. You won’t think you will – you’ll tell yourself, like I do, Oh, I’ll remember that. And I can tell you from bitter experience that all you’ll remember is that you had an idea – and that it was a good one – but what that idea was? Oh, that’s long gone.

My Top Five Muse Nets

  1. Siri: If the muse strikes me while I’m walking or driving, I hit my button on my iPhone and say “Siri, remind me to write about…” It goes into my Reminders app, which makes it pretty easy to find later. The ability to use Siri without having to pick up my phone is the ONE thing that tempts me about the Apple Watch, especially since I could use it with…
  2. EvernoteThanks to integration into just about every browser I use, I can pretty easily catch ideas, quotes, and articles in a special “*Love Life Practice” folder (the asterisk is so that it stays at the top of all my other folders). I can even sometimes give myself a head start and say what kind of post I think it will be – “love”, “life”, or “practice.”
  3. Editorial Calendar: This is a plug-in for WordPress, but a calendar on the wall works, too. When you have an idea, you write it in to a particular day so that you have an idea when to work on it. In terms of NaNoWriMo, you can take your outline for your story and lay it out on the calendar, so that each day you know exactly what you’re going to write.
  4. Here's a MuseNet that has been pretty useful this month...
    Here’s a MuseNet that has been pretty useful this month…

    Notebook: Ah, is there anything so joyous as a new notebook? I started my love affair with notebooks in the Moleskine world, but a gift of Fieldnote COLORS has been a lovely affair for the past year, and I’m experimenting currently with Baron Fig’s Confidant but I’m not sure that’s a lasting relationship. A key part is to also have a reliable pen.

  5. Repetition: Sometimes you just don’t have anything handy, and you do have to find a way to remember it. Last week I knew what my two blog posts would be, but I didn’t have a chance to write them down, so I started a chant: We are conduits. Love what you write. I said it over and over, under my breath, even singing it, until I got those posts written.

Quickdraw Musenets

In case it’s not obvious: your musenet needs to be in easy reach at all times. If the notebook is buried in the bottom of your desk and the pen is at the bottom of your purse and the ink is dry, it’s not going to be terribly useful. Evernote and Siri work for me because they are easily accessible via shortcuts – I’ve tried other programs that were prettier and fancier and more expensive but they just weren’t fast enough.

If you want to experiment, try out James Altucher’s Idea Machine method and see if your MuseNet is fast enough. Most of the time they require tweaking to your particular lifestyle; feel free to email me with questions (or put them in the comments) if you would like help figuring out yours.

But I promise you this: you take care of your nets, and the muse will take care of you.

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