And then, I definitely made use of that technique of writing ideas out on note cards and arranging them for a chapter structure. This is especially helpful if you’re a visual person, being able to have forms of adjacency that aren’t just a list, so you can have things be next to each other in more ways. You just need a big flat space—I’ve done this on the floor before. You just write all the cards and then move them around until it feels right, and then you use that as your outline. It’s like making a mixtape.
I inadvertently stumbled upon a process in grad school when I was writing a paper. I was having a hard time keeping track of where the quotes were in different books, so I made a Word document—and I still have these original Word documents—that’s just the bibliographic information at the top that you would need to put in your footnotes, and then just page numbers and quotes. So for each book, I’d have a document containing all the quotes that I thought I might use for a paper. It just made writing my paper so much easier, so after that, for any book that I read that I thought I might reference in the future, I’d just use that process.