Lesson on writing notes


After months of procrastination I decided to start organising my notes which I’ve been making since I stopped writing during the summer.
I didn’t stop because I had no ideas – I had and still have ideas – but because I just stopped. My environment changed, I didn’t have a proper desk, the internet connection was the worst I’d ever experienced, I was fed up, I have no money coming in, I have money going out, I was eating too much, and I was probably the most angry and stressed out person I knew. (The news occupies my mind during waking hours). And I slept more than I have in quite a few years.
Yesterday I looked at what passes for my desk, a Formica-topped counter on top of two small chests of drawers, and saw a small messy pile of A5-sized scribbled notes. I was never this disorganised.

So I began by proofreading the 11,000 words I’d already typed and then went through about twenty pieces of notes and either typed, or rewrote, or put them in a ‘neat pile’, or threw them away. At the end of it I had backache (I have lordosis) which serves me right because if I hadn’t stopped writing my body would still be used to sitting still for the four hours or so it took me just to go through a few notes. I have also stopped exercising regularly which accounts for the pain – something else which is my responsibility.
I still have about forty or fifty pages of notes to get through but at least I’ve made a start and I’ve made some of the corrections from the proofreading. The story is in a bit of mess but I’m sure that once I get the notes under control I’ll be able to sort out the plot. It’s the amount of notes that bothers me.
Lesson: if you intend to write something – whether it’s a letter, blog, or worse still a story (worse because it’s longer) never stop writing. Making notes is a good idea and to be encouraged, even when I get out of bed at one o’clock in the morning just to scribble something down, but leaving them to build up in a pile takes my ideas no further than that – simply a pile of jumbled ideas. It’s also a bigger headache in the long run – not to mention backache.

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About S.A. Aslam

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