In Others’ Words: Forgotten

Beth Vogt Quotes, Writing 30 Comments

I can’t even let myself think too long of the story ideas I’ve forgotten because I didn’t write them down.

They were brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Sometimes it was a story idea. Or just a scene. Or a snippet of dialogue with just the right zing. But I was already in bed, comfy under the covers, with my teeth brushed and my eyes at half-mast … and I knew I’d remember that little bit of brilliance in the morning.

When morning came I had nothing except a huge pile of regret weighing me down as I wandered around the house muttering, “What was it? What was it?!?”

So I’ve learned to push back the comfy covers, pull on my robe and go downstairs and write it out. If nothing else, I have my little notebook on my bedside table for a hasty scribble for those moments inspiration wakes me up at two o’clock in the morning. I even invested in a waterproof pad of paper and a pencil that is installed in my shower … just in case.

Because I’d rather be tired (or sopping wet) and inspired than dealing with writer regret.

In Your Words: Writers, tell us about the one that got away — the story, that is. And how you avoid inspiration slipping through your fingers. Readers, you have your own moments of inspiration. How do you hold onto them?


Comments 30

  1. We talked about waterproof markers of some kind. Didn’t know you actually installed one. Hope you’re soon inspired with something brilliant while showering just so you can use it. Practical post. Love it!

  2. Sticky notes. Backs of receipts. Gum wrappers. Even if it’s just a word. So I won’t lose it entirely.

    This kind of thing is notorious for happening while I’m in the shower. I’m genuis in there. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. This is so pertinent. I had written down, but in saving computer files yesterday, one name slid over what I was saving and a short article I’d enjoyed reading replaced one of my completed manuscripts. No problem, I had emailed to myself–but found that got erased and not replaced when my new computer failed months back. But thank God I had emailed it to a friend for safekeeping back-up. He and wife emailed to me this morning–ahhh. Now, let’s see how many means of saving ideas I can utilize in future . . .

  4. They make waterproof paper?! Whaaaat?

    I used the Notes feature on my phone, which is always with me (I don’t wanna hear it!! Ha.). I can even use it while driving because I have Siri on my iPhone (that’s about all she’s good for, though…) and can dictate the notes to myself.

    1. You should hear what my daughter has programmed Siri to call me.
      Let’s just say the words “Royal” and “Highness” are combined.

  5. I used to keep a pen with a light by my bed, then I got old. Now I have readers (glasses) with a light built into the frames by my bed. I also carry a digital recorder in my car. There is NOTHING more frustratingโ€”or wastefulโ€”than a forgotten idea!

  6. You are so right, Beth. I shutter to think of those brilliant ideas I let get away. I keep notepads everywhere. Not only that, but I record ideas on my phone, digital recorder or IPOD.

    Dr. Henriette Ann Klauser stresses the importance of doing this in her book, “Write it Down, Make it Happen.” I highly recommend it.

    Great post Beth!

  7. It only took one or two times of convincing myself I’d remember the idea in the morning and then forgetting it to realize I was losing great story snippets. My ideas usually come just as I’m about to drift off to sleep or while I’m in the shower. I’ve written blogpost rough drafts (for that day when I finally begin a blog), character conversations, and other things down as soon as they happen so I can remember them later.

    I also keep a pad of paper in my purse, for those times when a character or story idea come to life while I’m driving. I either pull over or write it down at the next stop light. Usually. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t want any more ideas to be the “one that got away.”

    1. When I was driving once and I had an idea for a bit of dialogue, I had my husband (in the passenger seat) take dictation. It was a little odd, but I got to hear the dialogue out loud. Of course, I’ve never tried to jot down a note while driving! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. This is so me, Beth! I also keep a pad and pen by my bed, but I didn’t know about waterproof ones. The shower is where I get most of my ideas, and I can usually remember them till I get to the notebook I keep under my bathroom sink. But why chance it?

    Sometimes I still think an idea is so good there’s no way I’ll forget it and go about sleeping or cleaning or whatever. That’s a bad feeling when it’s gone and can’t be retrieved. Thanks for the reminder to write it right then.

    1. Kim … I’ve done this even when I know I shouldn’t — This idea is so brilliant there is no way I’ll forget it!
      And I do.
      Forget it, that is.

    1. So you jot them down wherever? Scraps of paper? Notepads?
      I also like the Moleskin notepads — all sorts of sizes and colors.

  9. Yep, definitely have forgotten brilliant thoughts. Of course, if they were that brilliant, they’ll come back to me sometime, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’ve been known to jot ideas down on just about anything. Last Saturday I was in Pilates class typing memos on my phone for when I teach the class this week. Everybody probably thought I was texting, but oh well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I keep a notebook beside my bed. And a sharpie. If I can’t find the notebook and the pen, then the sharpie works on Hub’s back. Seriously, he’ll never know. And he isn’t a lifeguard or a supermodel, so the writing will fade long before anyone sees it and says “Dude, why does it say ‘best way to kill off bad guy is with anthrax’ on your back?”

  11. ‘I even invested in a waterproof pad of paper and a pencil that is installed in my shower โ€ฆ just in case.’. *smiling here* yes, ma’am! As a reader and writer (not published though!) I’m ALWAYS full of idea! (Ask anyone who knows me.) I’m in this creative writing class and I’m finding out that when I just sit down in front of the computer, ideas just start flowing on their own… and of course when that happens, I can’t stop writing!


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