Tip Thursday: Inspiration Amnesia


If you’re like me, then you’ve gotten ready for bed and, just as you’re about to doze off, your mind gives off a gem that’s absolutely perfect for your WIP, or a story you’re plotting, or something.  Whether that be dialogue, the whole plot, or the missing piece of the puzzle.  Of course, you commit it to memory and go back to sleep.  When you wake up, it’s gone!  You know you had something, but you can’t remember what that something was. 

Inspiration strikes at the most inconvenient times.  Just like a cold or an unwanted relative.  Fortunately, there’s help for inspiration amnesia.  Here’s a few tips I found to help you, whether you’re in the car or in bed (the full article can be read here): 

  • Keep a dashboard clipboard with a small notepad in your car
  • Carry a small notepad in your purse, briefcase, or pocket
  • Keep a notebook on your bed stand
  • Or if you prefer, use a micro cassette recorder
  • A handheld computer or PDA can also be great for catching ideas; especially when you are in public.

However you decide to capture your ideas, you must do so as soon as possible.  Immediately, if you can.  This applies even at night–perhaps even more so at night.  At no time is an idea likely to be more vivid than at night, and at no time is it likely to fade faster.  If you wake up in the middle of the night to a great idea, you really need to write it down.  Get yourself a drink of water, jot the thing down as completely as you can, and go back to sleep.  In the morning you will be in a much better position to judge whether the idea holds any real promise.  This is much better than waking up certain that you had the inspiration for the next Great American Novel last night–and now you can’t remember what it was!

So…let’s have it.  What’s your advice for inspiration amnesia?

3 Responses to “Tip Thursday: Inspiration Amnesia”

  1. Liz Czukas says:

    >I have notebooks all over the place and also use the Notes app on my iPhone if all else fails.

    If I really can't write something down, I try to recreate the exact circumstances in which the idea came to me the first time. Was I in the car? What song was I listening to? What was I driving past? What was I thinking about just before?

    Sometimes it works!

    – Liz

  2. kourtneyheintz says:

    >This is so true! I have been out walking the dog when inspiration struck and called myself on the cell to leave a voicemail on the home phone. Now my smartphone had a notepad app and I can type in every thought that hits…provided I have my phone.

  3. Heather says:

    >That sounds exactly like me! Ideas or inspiration always strike at the point between sleep and wakefulness. There is a notepad and pen on my nightstand! Well, when my cat doesn't knock the pen off and carry it away… Thanks for the great tips!