I woke up at 1:30 last night with an idea for a blog. I had a title and everything. I told myself, “Write it down; you’ll forget it otherwise.” And then I thought, I don’t want to get out of bed to write something stupid down. Besides, if I make a mental note of it, I’ll remember it in the morning.
Well, it’s morning. I remember that I had a good idea, and that I was going to write it down. And that’s all that I remember.
My mind might have been a steel trap once upon a time, but time and mileage have rusted it quite a bit. When students tell me in class that they want me to do something, like email them a copy of the Powerpoint I showed last class period, I have learned to tell them to email me or text me with the request. For I can guarantee that if it isn’t written down, I won’t remember it.
Hence my point….uh, what was it? Oh, yeah. If you have a great idea for a story, write it down. In an emergency, find whatever you can find to write it on: a napkin, the back of a tissue box, your hand. But get it down. Who cares if you think it’s garbage later on, at least you have the option of accepting or rejecting it.
Ideally, you will have a central point–a file, electronic or otherwise–where you keep these ideas. I started doing something even better. Instead of ideas languishing in a file somewhere until I can turn them into a novel years from now, I write them up as a short story. Some of them are true short stories, others are really first chapters of the book. But in either case, it gives you an opportunity to see the concept and the characters and either fall in love with them, or put them back into hibernation. And you have a permanent representation of the idea.
In any case, I turn 60 this year. Even though I still have the personality of a 13 year old, my body and my mind are starting to show wear and tear. And so I have to learn tricks to keep things organized. Like writing stuff down.
Don’t laugh. You’re not getting any younger either….