How to Remember What Inspires You As a Writer

Let me guess, you are brilliant at remembering things. Right? When an idea strikes you, or the wording of a conversation inspires you, or the perfect ending to that chapter comes to you in a dream you remember it. Did I hit the nail on the head? No? That’s because you are a normal, busy human being. Yes you are a writer, and I can only imagine that you are a really great writer, but don’t for a moment believe that these things should mean that you remember every idea that comes your way.

This is where writing things down comes in. It may sound silly, or unnecessary. After all, you do remember things from time to time. It isn’t as if you have no inspiration and no words. That may be true, but think how much more you would have if you wrote everything down.

It may seem silly at first. Keeping a notebook or index cards in your purse or pocket. Taking them out in public when something strikes you. It may seem tedious having to rouse yourself from that in-between state of sleep and turn on the light to write down that terrific scene from your dream. But trust me, it will pay off.

You can go to these notes when you feel stuck. When you aren’t sure where to go next, or even where to start. When you are writing and you have that funny feeling that you remember thinking of a great line that would be perfect, you can just go back to your notes.

The best way to take notes is really up to you. I am a pen and paper kind of person. I’ve always got my moleskin notebook on me. You may find that index cards work better, especially if you use them in story planning. Or you might be more technologically inclined. There are some great note-taking apps out there, Evernote being one of them. Find the tool that works best for you and your lifestyle.

Will you use everything you write down? No. Will you use most of it? I don’t know. But, even if you only use one-quarter of what you write down, you have already done yourself a service as a writer. If you feel like you just have notes everywhere and it is starting to stress you out, then go through them. If you have already used something then throw it out, or erase it. If you find that some of the things you wrote down are just terrible do the same.

The thing about being an adult is you have a ton of responsibilities, even more if you are a parent. And the thing about being a writer is that you constantly have words, sentences, paragraphs, entire stories swirling around in your head all the time. There is no way that you can remember all of it, or even be aware of all of it, even if you didn’t have all of those other responsibilities. So give it a try. Start writing things down that inspire you or catch your attention as a writer, and see where it gets you.

How do you remember what inspires you as a writer? Share with us in the comments section below.