Writing Ideas: Are You Jotting Yours Down?

writing ideas
Image by stux on Pixabay

In a perfect world, your brain would be like the laptop you use. It easily would capture all of your brilliant writing ideas for future sorting and elaboration. But alas, the brain doesn’t come with a “Save As” button we deliberately can push, and the Autosave is buggy. It captures only what a person subconsciously or consciously deems important enough to remember.

In the moment, you might think that you’ll recollect a concept or phrasing. But depending on how the brain links the new concept or phrase with your existing ideas, experiences, and emotions, this doesn’t always happen. The result is that, when you want to work on a writing project later, you have a major “oh, crud” moment. Your star of brilliance fades into the dark abyss of the forgotten.

This has happened to me plenty of times. I’ve been in line at the store, busy with the kids, or whatever else, and inspiration has hit me. Not plow me over hit me, per se, but just enough of a push that I feel energized and want to think about the idea more later. Sure enough, later, I couldn’t recollect what had inspired me, at least not clearly.

Hence, it’s reeeeeeally critical to prepare yourself to take notes in the moment.

If you’re old school, jot down your writing ideas with your favorite pen and a notebook that fits in your pocket. If you prefer a more contemporary technique, use a smartphone app. There’s no right or wrong method. Just find what works for you and use your technique consistently. You might not use everything you save, but at least there’ll be something there for you to sort through when you want or need something to work on. That matters in the craft of writing, because creativity and options are inextricably linked.