Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday's Writing Tip: Don't Forget that Thought, Write it Down!

"The existence of forgetting has never been proved: we only know that some things do not come to our mind when we want them to."  Friedrich Nietzsche

Ever lost a great story idea, or forgotten just the right quote, or the perfect sentence to describe something?  If you came up with these great thoughts in the middle of the day, but failed to write them down at the moment of inspiration, the answer is probably yes!

That's why it's so important, as writers, to always have pen and paper handy wherever we are.  If you dream up your ideas, or they come to you while waking in the wee hours of the morning, have a notebook on your bedside table.  If you develop scenarios as you drive, place a little steno pad in your glove compartment.

If you're a woman writer who wants to be well prepared to hear from "the muse," carry a little notebook in your purse.  Same goes for a guy who carries a "man bag." And with a cell phone, anyone  can be prepared since you can text yourself!

Write down (or text) your ideas when they're fresh!  If you don't have a handy pad or a cell phone, grab the nearest thing available!

We've all heard about great stories written on cocktail napkins! And if you're like me, you've probably scribbled on napkins from your own kitchen table when nothing else is accessible to catch that stream of wildly flowing inspiration!

Even though you can hold on to ideas for a few hours (before completely forgetting them), sometimes they're just not as strong as the original thought, once you find the time to jot them down.  It's difficult to recreate the initial pungency from the fragments left  floating around in your head.  

So be prepared, write it down! Do you have a pen and paper handy wherever you go?

Tweet me @: maria_mckenzie! Thanks for stopping by!

20 comments:

Carol Riggs said...

Yes! This is really crucial for writers. Altho I have paper and pen in my purse, when I'm driving they're inaccessible. So I have to repeat the phrases or ideas over and over until I stop or get home to write them down. ;o) I've FINALLY put a pen and spiral notebook by my bedside, because that's the most common time I get snippets of dialogue and scene ideas--when I'm trying to get to sleep. My characters are night owls!

The Words Crafter said...

Great advice, I need to do this more often. I used to write poetry on scraps of paper....

Saumya said...

So true. I always carry a notebook and overuse the notebook function on my phone. So many wonderful ideas come at the strangest times!!

Kittie Howard said...

Great advice! I've even thought about one of those recorder for those ideas that pop into my head while driving!

L.J. said...

Very true. I often keep notes on my phone.

The Golden Eagle said...

I need to keep more paper and pens around me--although, for some reason, I never thought of my phone! :P

The Happy Whisk said...

I have a pocket blank book that comes with a pen in the binder. I use it at work but mostly just to jot down stuff needed done there, or to remind myself to get ingredients needed for later.

Rarely do I write fiction or non-fiction, away from my set writing times.

But I do love having a little blank book for work and marketing.

Happy Monday :-)

chadmawn said...

I'm so lazy about writing ideas down. It's my Achilles Heal when it comes to writing. I've lost so many good ideas because I didn't have my notebook handy. I'm thinking a voice recorder may be the way to go. Especially while I'm driving, or when inspiration comes right before sleep. That way I won't wake my wife by turning on a light. Heading to Newegg.com to price the things out right now...

Donea Lee said...

I'm kind of bad at this - I'm slowly getting better. I guess I'm lucky that I hoard receipts in my purse...any scrap of paper will do sometimes! :)

Joanna St. James said...

I try to take my idea pad everywhere with me, but sometimes i look at the idea i wrote and i cannot figure out what i was talking abt.

Nas Dean said...

Great idea...though I'd agree with Joanna, about not figuring out later where that particular idea was in context to!

Old Kitty said...

Always!!! Pens specially!! Cos they're also so handy for newspaper crosswords!!! Thanks for a great post, take care x

Norma Beishir said...

I wrote my first fourteen books in longhand and had them typed by a secretarial service. Now I do almost everything on my smartphone. I've forgotten how to even hold a pen!

Maria McKenzie said...

@Carol: My charcters are early risers. I get my best ideas on the verge of waking up!

@Words Crafter: I've used many scraps of paper, too:).

@Saumya: You sound well prepared! Inspiration does strike at the darndest times:).

@Kittie: Years ago, I had a mini casstte recorder! I'm not sure what happened to it:(. But it was great to grab and state the idea right away!

@LJ: Using the phone never even occurred to me
until I started writing this post! I'm such a nontechie, pen and paper will never become obsolete for me:).

@Golden Eagle: Buy some three packs of those little notebooks. That'll keep you well supplied!

@Happy Whisk: You sound very organized!

@Chad: Hope you purchased a recorder so you won't lose any more of your wonderful ideas:)!

@Donea Lee: I hoard a lot in my purse, and I'm never at a loss for a scrap of paper either!

@Joanna: Great that you carry an idea pad--but maybe you could write down what project your ideas belong to, after writing down your thoughgts:).

@Nas: Same advice I gave Joanna, write down what project your idea belongs to after jotting down your thoughts! See if thie helps:).

@:Old Kitty: Very prepared--and able to do a crossword puzzle at any time:)!

@Norma: I don't think I'll ever give up my pen and paper--I'm too non-technichal!

William Kendall said...

I've always got pen and paper in my backpack. It's essential.

Nick Thomas said...

I am getting depressed. Even the post office rejects my letters.

Maria McKenzie said...

@William: A writer well prepared!

@Nick: Don't get discouraged! Keep writing and keep submitting! There'a an agent out there who's going to love your book:). Never walk away from your dream!!

Joy said...

Having lost some ideas for the want of somewhere to write them down, I now carry a notebook at all times. The only fragments I lose now are those that come to me when I'm about to drift off to sleep...too lazy to get up and write those down.

Maria McKenzie said...

Hi Joy! Carrying a notebook at all times is a must:). But keep one by your bedside just in case!

Joy said...

Done. :)