Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Index Card Circa Hack

I've started using the typewriters again heavily, after several months of mostly writing by hand. As a result, I'm using the Circa/Rollabind notebooks again quite a bit. I like that I can put all my typewritten pages in a notebook for easy perusal, and with the knowledge that if one morning I get up and decide to hit the coffee house and write by hand for awhile, I can do that in the same notebook.

In anticipation of November and for my own use now, I wanted a way to store/display index cards in the notebook. The ideal solution would probably be some of Levenger's Dock-it pages, but I'm on a Levenger fast for the time being, and nice as they are, I'm still not sure they're worth the amount it'd cost me to get them, especially with Levenger's high shipping costs factored in. Instead, I came up with this solution.

At Office Depot, I picked up a package of 3-ring binder inserts intended for 3 x 5" photos. They only have four pockets on a page, and only on one side (Levenger's obviously have considerably more, and are far heavier in weight), but cards can face backwards since the page is clear on both sides. Each pocket can hold a decent sized stack of cards.

I trimmed off the side tab with the three holes, reinforced the section next to that with masking tape, and Circa punched. I also had to trim the top of the page a little bit so it wouldn't stick out.

Index card Circa hack

The final result: it works pretty well! I'm proud of myself. And a package of ten pages is under three dollars at Office Depot, for a total of 80 visible pockets, with space for far more cards than are immediately visible. More than likely I'll only add one or two of these to each notebook, and use them primarily for storage of cards related to the story I'm currently working on--character sketches, items and events to remember to include, maps, etc. So long as I can see the top card in each stack, I'm good.

One more view:
Circa card hack--two pages

In other news, I'm most of the way through the first draft of Yet Another Short Story, and Stinky and I dashed down the first few paragraphs of the one after that this evening. Hey, if you're gonna write smoky bar scenes, Stinky is the typewriter to go to. He's had a hard life, and he knows his way around.


mpclemens said...

I've been considering an idea like this for my 2008 NaNo draft which I'm finally getting around to editing. Or maybe for 2009's draft as I write it.

I like the low-tech, low-budget solution. Thrifty and elegant!

Little Flower Petals said...

You helped with the inspiration, considering the various means you've found for inexpensive Rollabinding! I also thought about making something with a regular sheet cover. If you put a piece of paper in the middle, marked out the edges index card spaces with staples somehow, and cut slots, it'd probably work. But I think this is just about as cheap, and far less frustrating for someone with my skill set....

I'll also be keeping an eye out over the summer / early fall for sales on those plastic folders with a pocket inside each cover. I've found they make perfect covers for letter sized Circa notebooks, if you just cut 'em at the fold and then punch. And the pockets still work! I do have one hard cover for whichever notebook is currently getting the most handling, but the folders work just fine for most purposes.

And for archiving, once transcription is complete and I'm really ready to move on, I'll probably just three-hole-punch them and recoup the discs.

Strikethru said...

I like the visual appeal of the cards in the pockets.

Is Stinky still stinky?

Little Flower Petals said...

Actually, at this point Stinky mostly smells vaguely of peppermint tea, thanks to a case-freshening suggestion someone gave me way back when. There's a slight sinister undertone of mildew, but it's mostly gone.

He's still battered, bruised and a bit rusty in parts, though. And I'm afraid he's stuck with the moniker.

And he still works splendidly. Inexplicably so.

mpclemens said...

That might have been me again. I'm quite the influence, aren't I? :-)

I'd heard the tea-bag tip from someone wondering how to get the tobacco smell out of cigar boxes.

I have a couple of machines that need the same treatment. A weekend in the sun and Lysol wouldn't be unwelcome in their cases, but I think none of them touch the I-swam-in-a-flood odeur du Stinky.

Little Flower Petals said...

You're right! Looking back, you were the one who gave me the tea bag idea. You are a man of many talents!

If I stick my nose right down inside I can still smell musty mildew, but it's no longer enough to waft around while I'm trying to write. Leaving it out of the case a lot for awhile helped, too.

And I'm sure leaving cases open to the sun is a good fix, too, for those who have sun...we do, but only at certain times of the year.