How many of your best writing ideas come to you when you’re in the shower, running errands or working on something else? How many times have you lost a great idea because you thought, “I don’t have to write it down. I’ve got a memory like a steel trap.” If your steel trap has become more of a sieve, you need a notebook.
A great idea can strike at any time. I often get my best ideas in the blurry haze of waking up in the morning or when working on a totally unrelated project.
A notebook or journal keeps your ideas in order. It’s easy to jot down your ideas, or even fragments of ideas, to revisit later when you have a chance. The more detail you give, the easier it will be to remember it.
Keep in a notebook or journal is effective whether you’re writing the Great American Novel or thinking of a catchy tagline or hook for marketing copy.
What to write:
Character sketches—I’ve met some real characters in life, ones who I think would make really great characters in a novel. Since I haven’t gotten around to writing the novel yet, I don’t want to let the quirks of these folks to fade away. Writing down a few notes will refresh my memory when It comes time to sit down and write.
Great sentences—How many times have you thought of a fantastic sentence or beginning of a piece and thought, “I’ll have to use that one day.” If you write it down, you can.
Taglines—Ditto for taglines. If you think of something catchy, don’t let it slip away.
Plotlines—You may not be ready to write a short story or start your novel now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t outline it or write down its basic plot.