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Fugitive Ideas – Don’t let them get away



Ask any writer what one of their greatest frustrations are, and they will have a long list. However, that list will most likely include—forgetting the idea that would:

  • Morph into the next bestseller,

  • Fix a problem,

  • Create added tension, or

  • Propel a character to the most appropriate action.

For me, this unfortunate occurrence tends to happen right after my head hits the pillow. After an evening spent struggling with a tricky transition or a plotline that isn’t quite right, I’ll go to bed and have that ah-ha moment. In a shocking revelation, the perfect segue or storyline becomes crystal clear.


If I don’t immediately jump out of bed and write down the idea, by morning, it will have disappeared like last season’s snowflakes. Even if I try to cement it into my thoughts by repeating the solution or creating an association or mnemonic, it will be irretrievably gone when I wake up.


The same is true if I come up with an idea while I’m out hiking. Maybe it’s the fresh air or the pulsing blood flow coursing through my veins. But some of my most fruitful ideas emerge during outdoor exercise.


How I keep them from evaporating?


I immediately record them!


Whether I leap from the bed and scribble them on a notepad for easy retrieval in the morning or pull out my cell phone and capture them on a voice recorder app, I trap them right away.


For a writer, escaped ideas are the worst kind of fugitives.

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