Monday, September 13, 2010

Was It All a Dream?

Why do I always get good ideas when I'm too busy to write them down?

Yesterday, I wrote a whole outline for a non-fiction article in my mind while I was on the way to the farmer's market. Of course, I didn't have any paper with me. When I got home, I tried to jot down the details but only managed to capture about 40% of it.

Acually, that happens a lot. The idea is perfect in my mind, I can envision the entire story. But when I try to write it in words, it ends up being a poor shadow of what I conceptualized. It takes weeks or months to get it to the place where it was when it sprang into my mind, if I can even do it. Does this happen to you? Why is it that "mind writing" can be so much better than the real thing?


  1. That happens to me a lot. It's usually when I'm driving. I do keep a pad and pencil in the car, but still by the time I pull over I lose things.

    I think when you're doing something, your left brain (the little critic inside your head) is busy with the task and can't tell you your idea is silly or it won't work or no one will like it. That lets the right side of your brain free to play with ideas.

  2. It sucks doesn't it? This happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I was in traffic.

    I still have a voice recorder I used in grad school so now I keep in my purse so that I can speak ideas when I can't write them down (of course, now that I've done that, no new ideas, ha).

    But you're right. Sometimes I see a scene in my mind but when I try to write it down, I still can't seem to capture that magic in my head.

  3. Ugh! So true! I had that very experience too many times. A writer friend gave me a tiny notebook which takes up little room in my purse, but I suddenly find no matter where I am, what I'm doing, i can stop for five minutes and jot those ideas down.

    That said, I heard Stephen King say "If you write down every idea, it's a good way to immortalise bad ones". So I guess there are two perspectives...

  4. Aimee, you've reminded me that I used to carry a teeny tiny notebook too. I'll have to get another one! I'm sure once I get a way to record the ideas, they'll stop coming for me too, Karen.

    Andrea V., your thoughts about freeing up the right brain to play around with ideas is interesting. Keeping the critical side busy is a good strategy.


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