I keep five notebooks for recording story ideas. Could I write all my ideas in one book? Yes, but I work on several books at once so that would only make it harder to find a specific note. For this reason, I use a number of notebooks. That's a photo of my current workbooks above.
There is a separate notebook for each book I'm currently writing. One is for Xmas Carol, which I'm still working on. (The book is out to readers at this time and I got a great call this morning from a reader who just reached the climax. Lookin' good!) The Xmas Carol notebook is the large blue-green one on the right end.
A second is for Ink, which Is also a current project. It's the medium-sized yellow notebook. I've got another book just for new story ideas. It lists idea after idea, and this is where I go when I want to write a new short story. I can't tell you how happy I am about the ideas in this book. There's good writing ahead! The book for new ideas is the medium-sized avocado notebook.
I also have a large black notebook for the third book of The Worlds Trilogy. The story isn't written, nor is the plot set in stone. It too is a work in progress, though it's only in the planning (i.e., thinking) stage.
And finally, I have a small copper notebook to carry on my infrequent forays into the world, dog forbid an idea occur to me and I find myself unprepared to record it.
Each notebook you see above is a Clairefontaine Basics notebook. The paper is unbeatable and is so friendly to fountain pens, which I always use when writing by hand. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have leather covers handmade for these notebooks at Renaissance Art. It's not as expensive as you might think.
(Note: they don't make perfect items, instead producing friendly, unique covers with all sorts of imperfections. I love them. Each is like an old friend, wrinkled here and there. In other words: perfectionists beware. Me, I think I've bought about 10 of their covers and I'm perfectly happy.)
This is my arsenal. Whatever idea occurs to me, no matter which book it concerns, I have a place where I can record it. This is very helpful when I sit down to write the book or story.
On the other hand, I also notice that each thing I write down in these notebooks essentially transfers the idea permanently to my brain. I can go to the computer the next day and start writing, often without looking at my notes. I think this says something about how the brain works. Perhaps by writing the words manually, they go directly into secure storage in the brain. It's as if my contact with the idea is more intimate when I print it in a notebook by hand. I'm just musing here but it seems that way to me.
Write your ideas down in an organized way. Trust yourself. Know that your ideas are good and worth recording. This way, when you want to write something, you won't find yourself saying, 'But what will I write about?"
Works for me. What works for you?