Writer Problems: Reasons to Always Write Ideas Down

Sometimes the best advice we give others is the advice we don’t use ourselves.

On Tuesday, I had a brilliant idea for today’s post. As I graded papers and worked on lesson plans for next week, I pondered it and mused to myself how great it was. Part of me considered writing it down, but I decided that it wasn’t necessary. The idea was so obvious and so perfect that I would never forget it.

Wednesday morning, I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. And I still can’t, no matter how hard I try to retrace my mental steps. The idea obviously sprouted some wings and flew away. Or perhaps it was misplaced during that night’s strange dream about getting a puppy and finding out that I’m pregnant at the same time.

If only I had written the idea down, we could all enjoy the ingenious idea instead of the ramblings about how I’ve forgotten it.

I should know better. One of the most important pieces of advice I give to young writers is to always write your ideas down so you won’t forget them.

When I was young, I never believed in it. I thought that I could keep all of the plots and characters and strange worlds straight in my mind. I’m sure that I didn’t do nearly as well at it as I thought I did, but isn’t that the case with everything we do when we’re fourteen?

Now, though, my head is too full of the papers I’m grading, questions from students and parents, and everything else to be reliable on its own, for writing or for anything. I need a back-up. But any information that’s worth keeping deserves it, no matter where it’s stored.

So, instead of my brilliant idea, here instead is my lament and a word of warning. Always write your ideas down (even if you don’t think you’ll forget them).

What’s the best piece of advice that you give but sometimes ignore? Do you forget what you were planning to write about sometimes too?

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10 responses to “Writer Problems: Reasons to Always Write Ideas Down

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