Using Whatsapp voice notes to capture story ideas on the run


lose 9/10 of the story ideas I’ve ever had, even my favourites — but recently a friend sent me a Whatsapp voice-note and it’s been a bit of a game-changer for me.

Ideas come to me on a windy beach, clinging to the side of a hill, or in the supermarket queue (where I have all my best ideas). I’m often left fumbling with groceries, pen, purse, pad, and phone — before long, I’ve dropped it all and am scrabbling around on a dirty floor, OR I think

“I’ll pack the groceries up first, and write the story idea down when I get back to the car”

This never happened; apparently it takes less than a brief walk across a small car park for me to forget every idea I ever had, and thus all my best ideas blew away on a southwesterly.

Now though, all I have to do is press the mic, record the 5- or 10-second idea, and let go! No fumbling, no pen, and no paper. Later, I can just replay it, and the idea’s right THERE, ready to be written.

How to set it up?

Slightly weirdly, Whatsapp doesn’t automatically let you send messages to yourself, but you can rig it easily by setting up a group in which you’re the only member:

    1. Open Whatsapp
    2. Open Menu
    3. Click New Group
    4. Add a random friend/neighbour/stranger to the group
    5. Click on Menu/Group Info
    6. Name the group
    7. Delete random friend from the group (unless you want to share all your story ideas with them)

All done — you can now go into the group whenever you want, and record a little voice message for yourself.

Job done.

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