Take Note

One of the things you’re doing when you write is sharing your ideas. In order to do this you have to have something to share in the first place. We all have ideas pop into our head all day. Most of them are either too trivial or banal to share but a few of them are entertaining or profound enough that they might be useful. The problem is your life is so busy that even when you have a good idea occupying your immediate thoughts, pretty soon something else comes to mind and you’re liable to forget the share-worthy idea you just had. So what you’ve got to do is write those ideas down. Carry a small note pad, record the idea as a sound file on your iPhone, or write it on your hand if you have to. But have a way of recording these ideas.

Now this is not a new concept. I remember reading about this in, of all things, a book about how to be a better salesperson. I remember hearing George Carlin talk about writing down his random thoughts during one of his interviews. The important thing is to have this repository of ideas somewhere so that you can tap into it when you’re writing. It might help you develop a character, or a conversation, or to describe a scene. You might even fuse two or three really good ideas together into an entire plot for a novel. But you can’t do any of that unless you write the damn stuff down in the first place.

Now, I’m not saying everything you write down is going to be useful. When you go back and look at some of it you might even wonder why you bothered to write it down in the first place. But sometimes there will be a real gem. You won’t know it when you first write it down, but when you find it later you’ll be glad you did.