Write it Down

Write it Down

There’s a scene in an early season of Mad Men in which the character Kinsey, staying all night in the office, has a great idea while drinking, then wakes to find the idea gone and nothing for his pitch to Don Draper. “I had an idea and I lost it,” he admits. In a moment of surprising camaraderie, Don nods sagely, and says, “I hate when that happens.”

I’ve run across all kinds of advice–always keep a notebook with you, always keep one beside your bed–so you never lose that moment when inspiration strikes. I, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, find the shower inspiring. But notebooks aren’t so compatible with water. Nor with driving, which is another time ideas often come to me.

What I do, and have done for several years, is record it into my phone via Siri, creating a reminder with the name of the topic and what I wanted to remember and she transcribes it for me. New story ideas, new plot twists, character quirks are all saved for the moment when I can get back to my computer and build it into my manuscript or add it to the Evernote notebooks which house all my research until I start a manuscript and move into Scrivener. Like with being able to record on my phone or watch, which I can do everywhere (except in the shower!), Evernote works on all my devices, so I almost always have access to it.

It’s all a bit of a kludge, but I do manage to capture most of my ideas. Once in a while Siri’s transcription is absolutely incomprehensible, and that can be frustrating. But mostly, I never have to say, “I hate when than happens.”

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