Doesn’t it seem like the best writing ideas come at the most inconvenient times?
It happens when you’re driving, in the shower, or eating dinner at a restaurant.
Unfortunately, you’re not sitting in front of your computer, and even if you were, you don’t always have time to stop what you’re doing to make notes about your latest writing ideas.
But human memory is faulty, and nobody wants to lose a truly great idea, so how do we save them before we forget them?
And what if we’re fresh out of ideas? How can we nurture new ideas and keep our inspiration and creativity flowing?
Don’t Lose Your Best Writing Ideas
If your idea light bulb likes to shine while your hands are tied or when you’re away from your usual writing tools, then I have some tips to help you make sure you don’t lose your most creative writing ideas:
- Pocket-sized notebooks: If pen and paper are your preferred writing tools, then stock up on pocket-sized notebooks (Moleskine makes a good one) [aff link]. They’re cheap and small enough to stash everywhere: on your nightstand, in your purse, pocket, car, or desk drawer at work. Keep a pen or pencil with each one.
- Get technological: Download a voice recorder app on your mobile phone. Perfect for the car, a recorder is an ideal way to get a little writing done or capture your most brilliant thoughts when your hands are tied. Speaking of phones…
- Voicemail: If you’re stuck somewhere without a notebook or recording app, just give yourself a call. As long as you have access to a phone, you can leave yourself a voicemail and make sure your best writing ideas don’t disappear among the millions of thoughts you have during the day. You can call your mobile phone, home phone, or work phone!
- Bulletin boards, baskets, and boxes: If you’re one of those people who jots down notes on scrap paper and napkins, this is the perfect way to collect your thoughts and ensure that you can find them later. By setting aside a bulletin board, basket, box, or other container, you will have a place to deposit your scraps and scribbles. This will help you stay organized, and you’ll always know where to look when you’re trying to dig up one of your latest, greatest writing ideas.
- Just a pen: As long as we’re talking about napkins and notes, keep in mind that most of the time a pen is all you really need. There are materials to write on just about everywhere, and in a pinch, even a square of toilet paper will do. If you have your trusty pen on your person, you probably won’t have to look too long or far for something to write on. You might want to go with a Sharpie though; it will open up a whole new world of writing surfaces, like thick cardboard boxes, but hey — stay away from bathroom walls!
Cultivate the Best Writing Ideas
Now you know how to save your best writing ideas, but what if you need more ideas? What if you struggle with creativity blockage? Here are some tips to keep inspiration and ideas flowing:
- Take in art, and make time to read. I sometimes find that reading just a few pages of poetry or an interesting novel is enough to get my creative juices flowing. But any kind of art will do, even perusing images on the internet (personally, I like to watch interviews of a wide range of artists on YouTube).
- Eat, sleep, and exercise. It’s hard to be creative if you’re hungry, tired, and out of shape. Creativity can reach its peak when we’re fit and healthy, because we have the energy we need to produce some of our best writing ideas.
- Review old stuff. Sometimes after I finish a big project and feel creatively wiped out, I set aside a few hours (or a few days) to go through my old notes and projects. It’s a good time to reorganize and update everything, but I also usually come across half-baked ideas that are ready to get popped into the oven. Maybe a line from a half-finished poem will inspire a novel, or a short story that I started years ago is ready to be developed into a novel.
- Be open and observant. If you’re trapped inside your own head all the time, you’ll miss countless ideas that enter your orbit each day. Foster a habit of remaining present and alert as you move through life. You’ll find ideas in the news, in your neighborhood, even while you’re procrastinating on the internet.
- Do something else. If you write a lot, you might get burned out. It’s important to balance your life, so set aside time to engage in other activities, especially creative or intellectually stimulating ones. Visit a museum, make a drawing, go out dancing. Spend time with other people.
Your Best Writing Ideas
Most writers have lost dozens if not hundreds of writing ideas just because they had a stroke of genius at an inopportune time. And others missed a moment of inspiration altogether because their creativity wasn’t properly engaged. But that doesn’t have to happen to you. As long as you’re prepared at all times, your writing ideas will abound and you’ll be able to keep them safe and sound!
Got any tips to add for saving your best writing ideas or keeping those ideas flowing? Please share your thoughts in the comments.