The Best of Intentions . . .

Before the crack of dawn this morning I woke up, glowing with excitement about a essay idea that probably came from a dream. The vision was luminous and the concept was crystal clear. I knew that the minute I sat down at the keyboard, print-ready copy would pour forth in minutes. How could I risk drifting back to sleep and forgetting? Sarabelle is a ferocious taskmaster.

I slid from between my warm covers out into the cold, dark room, reaching for robe and slippers. I came down to my computer and ... I had fifteen e-mails. And ... I answered a couple. And ... here I sit, looking at a puddle of story that melted in the heat of the thought required to respond to those e-mails. Turning my mental energies to the thought required to craft those replies was blowing a strong wind across the surface of the previously mirror-still pond reflecting my idea.

Rats! I know better! How could I let this happen when I left my cozy bed for the specific purpose of recording it before it went poof?

Well, no point in beating myself up about it. I could pull out my journal and do some freewriting to see I can recapture the thought. But it's way more tempting to slip back between those warm covers and see if Sarabelle might be compassionate enough to give me a second chance. In any event, next time I have an epiphany (in the early morning or later in the day), I will not allow e-mail or anything else to distract me from recording it! I’ll at least get enough of it onto my story idea list to make sure I can recapture the moment.

Write now: start a story idea list if you don't already have one. That might be a piece of paper that you add to and check things off of. It might be a cigar or file box for collecting random scraps of paper, or a document on your computer. However you manage it, be sure you have one!

5 comments :

Herm said...

I laugh only because you made the picture so very clear. Been th d th. Your thoughts may have frosted over, but it certainly was cool the way you hosed down your frustration in this log.

This seems to show there are different parts of the brain for different fuctions. As strong as your drive to write was, the mail from whoever also had a strong draw. Sometimes it all comes together perfectly and then...WOW!

I'm sure you'll WOW us at another time. :-)

Jerry Waxler said...

There is a theory that when you write it, you can relax because it's on paper. It's true. I have been carrying a tiny notebook in my back pocket for years, but the last couple of years have fallen out of the ritual of writing in it. I can feel these thoughts bubbling around in my mind, and then disappearing into the ether. Thanks for the reminder. It's a good new year's resolution, to start writing in that little book again.

ybonesy said...

Have you read Stephen King's On Writing? Just curious because he talked a lot about where his story ideas came from. A good read it you haven't already.

Ritergal said...

I'm still waiting for the elusive idea to jump back out, and I've learned my lesson. This morning I woke with a couple of great blog ideas and as I began writing them in my journal, eight more popped out. They are on paper. I can find them again!

Ritergal said...

Ybonesy, I have read Stephen King's book, and it's on the recommended reading list of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing and on the Books page on my main web page.