Index cards are my best friend. The book I’m working on is non-fiction, so copious amounts of these little 3×5 pieces of paper are needed for the note taking process and to track sources. Now, I know I could use an open word doc, evernote, etc., to do all of this, but I’m old fashioned. I like using paper.
One of the benefits of using index cards, for me, is I’m able to spread them out on my table and rearrange them by chapter. I can then adjust items to where I want them to be in the chapter. It’s organizing my notes, which translates into organized thoughts and organized writing.
My 12th grade English teacher, Mrs. Stallings, taught me these tricks and even though I’m now 42, they are just as viable now as they were when I was 18.
The technophile part of me worries about what will happen if I lose/misplace these cards. We’re getting ready to move house and this fear is justified. Should I scan them to Dropbox? Photograph them? Make copies and put them in my safe deposit box?
I can’t imagine what J.K. Rowling went through as she carried the notes, drafts, etc., of the Harry Potter series from place to place. Right after 9/11, I read a story about her having to receive special permission to carry the hand-written manuscript and notes, the only copies, on the plane.
For the time being, I’ll not worry as I use my index cards. They stay wrapped in a rubber band, and I’ll use extreme caution during the moving process.