It’s late at night. You’re on the verge of sleep, and you have an idea for a story. It’s dark, and you don’t have any way to write it down. You repeat it in your head a couple of times and drift off sure that you’ll remember in the morning.
But you don’t.
It doesn’t matter if it’s sleeping, driving, showering, going out with friends, or anything else that could make it hard to record an idea. Once the idea is gone, there’s no guarantee of getting it back, and for me, there’s little more frustrating than remembering that I had an idea and having no clue whatsoever what it was – especially if I remember being excited about it or thinking that it was interesting. Who knows what could have come of it if I’d only written it down!
Then again, it might be even worse when I write it down on whatever’s handy and promptly lose it. Post-it notes, papers being used for something else, or even napkins. Creative people have a tendency to write on whatever’s handy when an idea strikes. If the scrap makes it home and doesn’t get destroyed in the laundry, it’s liable to go in a pile and be forgotten or accidentally thrown away.
Most of those problems can be solved by having a method for recording ideas. Please, learn from my mistakes and save yourself the frustration. Keep a notepad. Even better, use a smart phone (you can type a note, write an email, or even use a voice recognition app to be hands-free). And under most circumstances, no one will think twice about a person tapping a quick message on a phone.
Just don’t let the ideas get away. You may never get them back.