Friday, July 20, 2007


By Lonnie Cruse

I’ve been working on the fifth in my Metropolis Mystery Series in fits and starts. Mostly fits. More on that in a later blog, but it seemed as if I kept butting my head against my personal writing wall because of ideas, problems, questions, etc that often attack me when I’m typing, slowing down the flow of words, and sometimes shutting it off completely.

I remembered hearing about writing programs that had little computerized Sticky Notes the author could use in order to keep up with ideas or problems. I thought about getting that program, but realized the Sticky Notes would probably be limited to when I was writing a manuscript. Why not see if there were any free computer Sticky Notes I could download which would sit on my computer’s desktop? I could use such notes not only for my writing but for any personal notes I wanted to keep handy. I’d noticed that the real sticky notes on my real desk had a habit of disappearing, or getting sloshed with coffee or soda, or my hubby would write his own notes on there with mine which meant I couldn’t toss them when I was done, so they cluttered up my desk. Sticky notes on my computer desktop would be perfect.

I did an online search for Sticky Notes, came up with some at: and downloaded the free ones. The site has more sophisticated Sticky Notes, some with alarms that sound to remind one of important items. Those cost money, so I stuck with the freebies.

I fiddled around with them and discovered I can make the notes small enough so that only the title shows as a reminder, and they don’t take up much room on my computer desktop. My real desk is, um, well, a teensy bit neater. And I can “lock” the notes so they don’t accidentally get deleted.

The biggest bonus I’ve discovered is how Sticky Notes help me when I’m working on a manuscript. As I said, sometimes I’m typing happily along and I hit my personal writing wall. Maybe I can’t remember the name of a minor character I introduced in chapter three and need to bring back in chapter eighteen. Hey, I can’t remember my own name some days. The sticky note with my character list is right where I need it. Or I realize I need to beef up a character, insert more information about him or her in earlier chapters, or drop a red herring somewhere. But I don’t want to leave the scene I’m working on to go back and search for the perfect spot to slide in that information, so I make a quick note in the current story Sticky to remind me to do it later. Maybe I discover I know zilch about a particular subject I’m including in the current scene (What does the basement of a certain local hotel look like? How long would it take my character to recover from a particular injury? What medical procedures would be used to heal same? Things like that.) so I type a quick note in the story Sticky to remind me to do the research when I’m not deep into writing a scene.

Having the ability to type a quick note into a Sticky on my computer desktop to remind me of what I need to do later has taken the fear of forgetting something important off my shoulders and allowed me to continue typing the scene I need to be in, knowing I can deal with any problems in my work-in-progress at a more convenient time. It helps keep me from getting “blocked.” And if you hang around here, I plan to tackle the subject of “writer’s block” at least from my perspective in a future blog post.

Meanwhile, if you need a quick way to jot down notes and reminders when working, notes that aren’t as likely to get lost on your desk, you might want to try Sticky Notes


Julia Buckley said...

Very interesting, Lonnie! You are so innovative and willing to try new things. Let us know how you like the stickies as the writing progresses.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Will do, Julia. So far they've been a huge help.