We’ve all had those moments where we have great writerly ideas at horrible times. Out on a date, riding in the car, at your cousin’s ballet recital, a distant relative’s funeral--you name it. Here are a few methods I’ve experimented with to make sure that none of my ideas die and fade away before I have a chance to write them down.
Pros: It feels very writerly, walking around, taking notes, having a pen in your pocket and a little Moleskine book filled with observations from your day. Even if your ideas are shit, you look the part at the very least.
Cons: Well, you’re carrying around a pen and a notebook everywhere. Pens explode. They leak ink. And notebooks are bulky, even when they’re small. Carrying around 50 index-card sized pages around is a feat that can’t be done without pockets are a little bag. For female writers, shove it in your purse. For males, maybe invest in a satchel?
2. Text yourself the ideas as they come.
Pros: Efficient, autocorrect takes away the typos that come with trying to jot down ideas quickly. All your ideas end up stored in a single place, the text thread that you share with yourself. You can also text yourself pictures, sound bytes, videos, etc. that you found inspirational.
Cons: It feels a little strange and lonely, texting oneself. But we’re writers so I guess strange and lonely are right in our wheelhouse. Also, if your battery runs out then you’re shit out of luck. Also people might ask who you’re constantly texting, and it is a little uncomfortable to have to explain that you are--in fact--texting yourself. Because you’re a writer/have no friends, basically.
3. Write on yourself--hands, arms, legs, socks, etc.
Pros: You definitely won’t lose your ideas, they are literally on your person. You don’t have to carry around a notebook or worry about texting yourself, just have a pen with lots of ink to cover yourself with. Temporary tattoos are cool.
Cons: Temporary tattoos might not be cool when you can’t scrub them off and the ideas turn out bad. Your arms/legs/hands also offer only so much idea-space, and ink has a tendency to rub off when it’s left on your skin long enough.
Many of my good ideas (mostly resolutions of sticky plot problems) come to me early in a long treadmill session. My partially maddening solution is to repeat the idea to myself (generally in my head but sometimes outl oud) over and over as the time and miles tick by
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