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-If I have a thought, I write it down on a 4×6 notecard and identify it with a theme–or if I am working on a specific project, where it would fit in the project.For instance, as I was preparing for my next book, , I filled out thousands of these cards for ideas and concepts that I wanted included in the book.Word processing programs don’t come with a sort feature.
Grant–incident at Mathew Brady’s studio where glass fell on him and he didn’t move.
Also, where he ran toward the explosion at City Point.
When I was in high school (and I’m not telling you how many years – decades?
– ago that was), I learned to write research papers using note cards.
All of them allow you to sort your research any number of ways. Here are three that I’m familiar with and like: Writer’s Blocks is a paid software program that visually mimics the index card system with “blocks” of text on the screen that can be arranged in rows and columns as you work.
Evernote (my personal favorite) is fully integrated with the internet so you can download web pages, collaborate with others, and access your account across all devices.As part of the Microsoft Office suite, it is probably the best, possibly the only, option available to government writers.Regardless which program you choose, remember the lessons learned from index cards.We bought a big metal ring and used a single-hole punch on the upper left hand corner of a pack of 3×5 index cards. A research index, working bibliography, and research notes at your disposal.I don’t think I’m alone in expressing a certain nostalgia for those days.We have a tendency to today to move a little too fluidly between the things we read on our computer and the things we write on our computer.So we don’t always know which ideas belong to us and which ideas belong to others.In the top right hand corner, you then wrote the name by which the source would be alphabetized in the references list.And then it became really easy to shuffle the cards alphabetically.In a highly individualized society like the United States, that’s a huge problem. The first stage in the writing process is brainstorming, and it’s intended to be a very open process of determining what CAN be said about a particular topic.Only later does an author determine what he or she WANTS to say about a topic. When we take notes on a computer, we do so in a single document.