As I work through my latest book, I’m conscientiously keeping notes of ideas and observations as and when they occur to me. Because of course these lightbulb moments hardly ever occur when I’m actually writing!
It wasn’t always like this. With my first book, I never bothered. If I had an idea I assumed I’d just remember it, and maybe act on it when I got around to the next draft. My focus was just on cranking out new pages. Unsurprisingly, I let a lot of good ideas slip through the net.
Even with my second book, it wasn’t a priority. I made the occasional note, sure, but I wouldn’t necessarily do anything with it. In fact, I sometimes put off acting on it until I couldn’t even remember what it referred to any more. It got so that large swathes of the notes I had for that book meant nothing, and were just deleted in one sad, neglected dump.
I can’t imagine the number of blog post ideas I’ve thought of over the years that never actually came to fruition because all I noted down was a title, or just a single paragraph that barely encapsulated the spark of the idea I had. A few weeks later I’d come back to those notes and wonder what it was all about. Whatever inspired me at the time of jotting down the idea was long gone.
Having learned from all this, I now try to jot things down in a manner that I know will make sense days, weeks and months afterwards. And I actually act on those notes on a regular basis, even if it does mean occasionally sacrificing a day of pure writing to do it.