6 Tips For Writers Who Want To Avoid Losing All Those Great Ideas
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
You don't have to be a writer to understand the frustration of having an idea or flash of inspiration pop into your head only to have it vanish before you can do anything about it.
Odds are this "great idea" probably hit you while you were standing in the produce section at the grocery store, not while you were at home just hanging out. So by the time you made it back out to your car – even five minutes later – it was gone.
It's frustrating, isn't it?
Creative writers pray that all their epiphanies happen while sitting at a computer screen. But most of the time the idea for the quirky intro to that long-awaited book or feature article strikes while you're taking in a game at the ballpark, mowing the lawn on a hot summer day, or standing in the shower. For me, it's when I'm driving down the highway.
Hey, it happens to the best of us. But a few years ago I began seeking out ways to better prepare myself for these random moments of clarity. This is not always an exact science, but I'd like to share with you a few simple tips that have worked for me.
Here are 6 easy tips for writers who want to avoid losing all those great ideas.
Become close friends with the "notes" app on your phone
I upgraded to a new smartphone yesterday, and the first thing I did was make sure I had the same notes application from my old phone at my fingertips. This comes in handy while you are at the grocery store or off doing something other than writing, and I can't tell you how many times it has saved me from losing a great idea. Most of these apps allow you to type your thoughts or use voice-to-text to secure thoughts quickly. I put the app right on my home screen and save each thought as a separate entry for future use.
Keep a notepad and pen in your car
If you're not the type of person who wants to be bound to a cell phone, keep a notepad and pen in your car, at your bedside table, on the kitchen counter, etc. It's an old-school concept for some techies out there, but it serves the same purpose as a phone app, right?!?! Write down your thoughts before they vanish into the abyss.
AquaNotes – Find it, buy it, use it
We've all had that moment when we're standing in the shower, and we need to write something down. Using your finger to jot notes on the steamy glass isn't always practical, so someone way smarter than all of us created waterproof notepads that come complete with suction cups for the shower wall and a waterproof pencil. I swear by them.
Use a voice recorder
This is pretty straightforward. Voice recorders can be found at your nearest office supply store and are great for giving yourself little reminders here and there. These days, your phone serves the same purpose. Like they say, "There's an app for that, ya know?"
Send yourself an email
If you are the type of person who leads a cluttered life and perhaps loses paper notes, send some juicy ideas to yourself in an email. Create a separate folder within your account for random ideas and store everything there. That way, when you're ready to write that book, you are surrounded by your inspiration.
Freewriting is an excellent strategy for when you are in front of your computer or have a pen and paper in hand and still want to make sure you don't lose any of those great ideas. Some of us writers get caught up in worrying about crossing something out, how something reads on paper, or worrying about how a word is spelled. By doing that we end up losing our train of thought. With this exercise, no one is keeping score, and you force yourself to write continuously for 10 or 20 minutes without stopping. You'll be amazed how easily the ideas flow. Just try it.
Thanks for reading!
*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This, LLC, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.