Keeping Things Straight

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.