I constantly keep a notebook with me. I have a full sized one on my bedside table. I carry a tiny one in my purse. And I have several others laying here and there around the house. I do this so I can write down those little sparks of ideas that could one day turn into a full blown story or something. I know if I didn’t have something to write them down on, I’d probably forget well over half of them. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve taken several ideas and been able to connect them in a story. Ideas I wouldn’t have unless I’d written them down.
There’s a flaw in my system though. I only found it today. It actually has nothing at all to do with what I write in the notebooks, but rather what I do not write. Just before NaNoWriMo this year, I was suddenly flooded with a lot of great story ideas based off music I was hearing while compiling my writing playlist. Music is oftentimes a big factor in my story ideas. I hear snippets of songs and soon enough, full on stories are folding out before my eyes. It’s great when it happens. However, I really needed to put these story ideas on hold for a month or so since NaNo was quickly approaching. So, I made another playlist called “Stories.” I loaded it up with every song that was sparking ideas at the time. It was the perfect way to store all my nice little story ideas in one place to be returned to later.
You might see where this going. It’s 13 days after NaNo now and I’ve returned to that playlist – to all my great story ideas. Where’s the flaw you might ask? Those songs aren’t sparking anything now! Sure, I saved them so that I would have story ideas later. I didn’t write anything anywhere though about what story ideas these songs were sparking! All those nice little plots that were unfolding before me aren’t there anymore and the songs seem a little bit useless to me now.
I’m going to leave these songs on that playlist in hopes they might spark something again someday. It just saddens me that I lost so many ideas because I failed to write things down. Followers, I want to remind you that it isn’t enough to just have notebooks laying around. Sure, they’re pretty and they draw some interest, but simply having them doesn’t make you a writer. You have to fill those pages. Remember to write things down – even if it doesn’t seem important at the time. Don’t take your ideas for granted. Don’t think they’ll be there tomorrow.
I learn more and more everyday that it is so important to write things down. I’m grateful for being able to remember the things I do, but I know my brain can’t store everything. I’ve even gotten to the point that I jot down the bad ideas – even if it’s not in great detail. Write down all your ideas – you never know when they’ll come in handy. So readers – what are your methods for remembering ideas? Do you journal? Jot it down in an app? Break out the laptop everytime? Do you keep it all meticulously organized or do you just let it sit in a creative jumble? I’d love to know your thoughts – tell me all about it in the comments. For now, take care and happy writing – or whatever it is you lovelies do (: