Using Cheat Sheets as a Writer
When you hear the phrase “cheat sheet,” the first thing that probably pops up in your mind is a student using “chits” in an exam hall.
While the term “cheat sheet” originated with those tiny pieces of paper smuggled into exams, there’s a lot more to the term we’ll be exploring in the context of this article.
- What is a cheat sheet?
- Examples of cheat sheets
- Uses of cheat sheets
- The importance of using cheat sheets as a writer
What is a cheat sheet?
A cheat sheet is a piece of writing that contains useful information on a variety of subjects. It serves as a kind of reference to things that will help you in the future, especially if you haven’t memorized them.
As a writer, you can get ideas from the most mundane and random things. What you need in order to avoid losing those ideas, is a cheat sheet.
Examples of cheat sheets
- Pieces of paper: which you can later pin together or separately, on a wall or where you can easily see them.
- A jotter you frequently make reference to.
- An easily accessible notebook.
- A word document file (if you’re working with a laptop/computer).
- A notepad app on your mobile phone.
READ ALSO: Point of View: What You Should Know
Uses of cheat sheets
From simple ideas for a blog post to full character descriptions for that brilliant novel, cheat sheets come in handy for writers. You can use a cheat sheet in one or more of the following cases:
- Taking down prompts: As said earlier, even when that idea hits you in the middle of jumping on a bus home, you can easily snatch your phone’s notepad and take it down.
- Sketching characters: For writers used to pinning papers around, a cheat sheet is a perfect tool for giving flesh and blood to your characters. You can easily dispose of it if it’s not working out fine, or keep it for adding stuff to your outline later.
- Fleshing out your story: With cheat sheets, you could add life to settings and otherwise bland scenes. A cheat sheet for the five senses, for instance, could come in handy while writing descriptive scenes.
- Noting down better synonyms: A cheat sheet could serve as your go-to Thesaurus. You could take down stronger verbs that can be used in place of awkward adverbs, short words in place of lengthy words, and generally improve your vocabulary while writing.
The importance of using cheat sheets as a writer
- Organization: Cheat sheets make you more organized. Those tiny jottings here and there go a long way in making your writing come out more orderly.
- Easy reference: One problem many writers face is the inability to retain ideas for extended periods. The cheat sheet gives you a trusted and easy reference for ideas, especially when you save them.
- Better ideas: Using cheat sheets help you to get more creative over time. You get to add to and subtract from your work without directly affecting the work you already have ongoing.