I’m a huge fan of notebooks.
It’s a rare moment that I’m more than 20 feet away from a 5″ x 7″ Mead notebook. For those times I am without a notebook, I have my iPhone.
As big a fan of being able to catch thoughts as they come to me, I don’t have a notebook on my nightstand, even though some of my biggest ideas come to me at night before falling asleep.
What I Do with Notebooks
I love being able to jot down ideas for promoting my writing. More than a few Juggling Writer entries started in a notebook. I take notes when I get together with two friends for our writing group. One of my favorite things in the world is going to get coffee with my wife and chatting about ideas for our blogs.
But I rarely write down story ideas.
Story Ideas are Different (For Me)
While I know I’ve lost a good short story or two in my time by not jotting down story ideas in notebooks, it’s a fair tradeoff for letting bigger things bubble up in my mind.
If I have a big enough idea for something as I’m nodding off for the night, I get up and start working on it. Or I spend an hour or so somewhere between waking and sleeping thinking about it enough that if it really is that big, it’s still there in the morning.
Knowing that I’ll die with a head full of ideas, to try capturing every single thing — for me — would take up too much time. And it would be easy to start things I never finish.
If it stays in my mind — if it’s something that excites me enough to remember the next morning, at work, and while eating dinner — I know it’s something that I’m more likely to start and finish.
Eventually, I capture all the little things that make up a novel in notebooks, but for the initial ideas, it’s all in my head.
How about You?
Do you write down every idea that comes your way, or do you let things slide in an effort to catch the things that really excite you?