I’ve always been the kind of person that takes copious notes. One of the things that has really improved my writing life is the little wiki program that I use to keep track of my book notes and story ideas. I use a really simple free app that I found in an android store because the more complicated wiki programs really intimidated me. I just wanted something that would work, not something I would have to spend valuable time figuring out how to use.
I used to have a little spiral notebook. It was a huge distraction. I would get upset at stupid things like not planning enough pages for this character sketch or that piece of worldbuilding, and then I’d have to re-write the whole thing or I’d end up spending time flipping around without being able to find the information that I was looking for. With the wiki program, I can add information in the right spot. And even more importantly, I can very easily go back and edit information (like when I decided to make all the characters in my novel a little older). I keep character sketches, lists, random thoughts, and my outline all in one convenient place. And use.
But like so many technology things, it’s a blessing and a curse. I have days like today where I catch myself spending more time updating my wiki files than actually writing. In a way even that is good because it gets me to think more about the plot and characters and the way things are interconnected. But it’s also bad, because the time I spend doing it is time I spend not writing. And it’s really bad when I pop into the wiki to figure out one tiny thing like a super minor side character’s hair color… and then spend twenty minutes updating character files and lose the flow of what I was writing completely.