When it comes to storage, my ideas go in one of three places:
1.) My Head
Pretty obvious. I like to let new ideas stew for a bit before I decided if they’re worth writing. “A bit” can be anywhere from a couple days to a couple years while I add characters, think about possible plots, and compose playlists. It’s essential that my ideas have a very strong “feel” to them—something that keeps pulling me back.
2.) A notebook
College-ruled and spiral-bound, if you please. Ideas really come alive for me when I've pinned down the central relationship of the story. I usually think in terms of two main characters (even if one is really more of a supporting character) and the dynamic between them. Once I have a good idea of that (and assuming I still think it’s a story worth writing) I move the idea to its own notebook. Not much organization, but plenty of room to make notes and work things out. Nothing’s certain yet, but it’s a bit more permanent than when it was all in my head.
3.) Index Cards
For all the unrelated bits and pieces that don’t have a story yet. Titles, quotes, weird observations, and all other random snippets get noted down on index cards and stuffed into a shoe box on my shelf. Sometimes things resurface, sometimes they don’t, but it’s nice to know there’ll all in one place.
That’s my filing system for ideas, and as you can see, it’s not all that organized. I used to wish it was, but I've decided that I prefer it to be a little chaotic—when everything’s rigidly organized I don’t feel like a creative person anymore. On the other hand, I know a lot of great writers are MUCH more organized than I am…so what do you prefer? Do you like to let ideas stew in your head or keep them all written down in a notebook? What does your storage system look like? Drop me a note in the comments; I’d love to know!