On the Brilliance of Sticky Notes for a Writer


I loved the classic yellow Post-It notes when I worked in a real office that had a desk made of wood instead of this virtual desktop I now use at home as a freelance writer. In my office days, the little yellow squares of paper inched closer and closer to filling up any open space on the desktop, threatening to swallow me whole.

Now my Mac desktop is freckled with Stickies, the laptop version of Post-It notes. I use them all the time. When my husband sees this screen, he sighs with as much frustration as he did when looking at my old office desk. It looks messy and confused and terribly unorganized to him. “What is all of that?” he asks, while shaking his head in disgust or confusion. I am not sure which.

I like having things in front of me. I need reminders in front of my eyes. I promise that my little squares of information are not as haphazard as they appear. As a writer who is often filling out forms for new jobs and taking part in online writing groups, there are many questions that are repeated. It saves time to have them handy. My jumble of stickies include:

  • My contact information and a short Bio.
  • My due dates for current jobs and projects.
  • Various websites that I may want to research when I have more time.
  • Inspiring quotes and nice things that have been said about my writing.
  • New ideas for future articles or blog posts.
  • A list of past assignments that are needed for referrals and testimonials.
  • MY two website links to my blog and my own writing website, handy at the bottom of the screen. So easy to drag and drop where needed.

Stickies come in 6 colors and I keep telling myself that it would be brilliant to use the colors to organize my notes by subject. All of the job possibilities could be blue, the contact and bio could be yellow, and inspiration, green. So far I have not accomplished this plan. I think I would need an additional sticky-note to remind me which color was for which subject!

But the main reason I adore sticky-notes is the great help they are while creating short articles for websites. When I am writing an information article, I sometimes know very little about the subject and must rely on research. Once the topic is chosen, I read all I can about the subject to begin to grasp an angle for my article. Rather than try to keep track of several windows being open on my computer, and the potential of accidentally closing one, I will copy and paste the information to a sticky note. The note will expand to whatever length I need and it will also hold the link to the original website so I can always go back for more details.

I keep the info stickies for a few days until I am sure the article is finished and accepted, then delete. They can be easily shrunken or expanded as needed on the desktop. I can also go to “Window” and click to organize all the stickies by subject, color or date. They can be set to “Float” above or under current projects, and even made translucent so I can see what is underneath the little squares.

I am sure there are many more lovely uses for these small helpers and I intend to find them all. In the meantime, maybe now would be a good time to organize them by color and subject.



UPDATED: I organized the info on the stickies on a color-coded system.