The Best Ideas Get You

I’m a Writer-Down-of-Things. If it’s not spelled out in words, I’m not sure it makes it in even the one ear. I live by to-do lists, grocery lists, and daily agendas. I never, ever leave home without a notebook (thinking about doing so does funny, mean things to my gut).

So, of course, I’m no different when it comes to my “Seeds of Inspiration.” I have many computer files full of killer concepts and zany characters. Some of those aforementioned notebooks have highlighted sections of brilliant plot points or doodles of fantastical creatures. Scraps of paper with awesome character names. Napkins with great dialog snippets.

But, Dear Reader, here’s a dark, dark secret, (please keep it between you and me): I have never looked at any of them again.

Yep, I frantically captured every single iota of an idea, only to ignore them when I was supposed to need them. In fact, I was avoiding them. It wasn’t intentional. Shoving the notebooks away and filing documents in places where they’d never be opened. I tried and tried to use these self-generated resources, just to fail with every attempt. But why? For an idea-hoarder like me, it made no sense.

Finally, it hit me: I ignored my collection of hooks and characters and turning points because I didn’t need them. In fact, I was better off without them.

Huh? You ask.

Allow me to explain myself: When the time came to dip into the Well’o’Inspiration, the strongest ideas boiled to the surface without aide. Things had burrowed deep into my brain, waiting to peek out like Katherine’s daffodils when the time was right. Sure, I probably made note of them in some file when they first showed, but the real proof was that they stuck with me. They were, literally, unforgettable.

And THAT made sense. After all, if they dug their roots deep enough for this scattered f mind to remember, then they might have some staying power with a reader too.

So my best advice to you other Writers-Down-of-Things: Feel free to write things down. Use those tape recorders and memory apps. Make lists. Doodle. Journal dreams. Try and try and try to pin those ideas into some useable format.

Or don’t.

You see, in the end: You don’t get the best ideas, they get you. 


Ah, I am a fellow writer-downer. Can't stop, never will, and I do, occasionally, look over old notes. But you're right - I don't need them anymore. Sometimes I use them anyway, for fun, and sometimes they even make the revision cuts. But not often.

My notebook is my security blanket. Not needed, but so comforting.

Ha Ha - so true. But then again, I only ever write down the best ideas ready for writing into something else.

Beth, they totally are blankies!

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