If you’re anything like me, you get some pretty good ideas. Okay, great ideas. Maybe. But either way, you may have a lightbulb moment that causes you to think, “Wow, that would be a really great idea for a story!” or, alternatively, “That would make someone a million dollars!”.

However, if you’re anything like me, you can lose track of these ideas very quickly. Garfield doesn’t call thoughts “slippery little devils” for no reason: they certainly are slippery and easy to lose track of. Lose a thought, and getting it back would be like retrieving a popped water balloon.

You can remember a cigarette ad jingle from 15 years ago, but you can’t remember what you just got up to do. (Rats…I should have used that strip…Oh, well.) Thinking is hard, thoughts are elusive, and inspiration happens by accident. Every book, every company, every thing that made someone millions of dollars started with a single, solitary thought.

Imagine if you had such an inspiration! You could be raking in the cash, instead of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or J.K. Rowling! Considering that you would do the right thing with your idea, you could become the world’s next billionaire (or first, depending on when you executed the idea).

And, what may be the best thing of all, there’s no “idea mining”. The best and most potent ideas appear in times of boredom, dreams, and thoughtless fantasies. The point is that you never know when the next million-dollar idea will pop up next. Most of the times, it’s an accident. And I’ll wager that you’ve had a few good ideas in your life.

However…What if Elon Musk had an inspiration, ruminated on it for a few minutes, and then slept on it, forgetting it in the morning? Not only does he not have the idea, he probably doesn’t care anymore: once you forget a really good idea, you can’t consider its potential for greatness anymore.

Every day, people get great ideas…and forget them. Not only could these great ideas benefit the discoverers thereof, but also the whole world. The world could use a few more great ideas.

The same principle applies to writing. I’ve often gotten great ideas for characters, places, times, heck, even whole worlds. But, like all great ideas, you will eventually forget them. Your story will go without this or that cool detail that you would have put in had you remembered.

However, there is one simple technique that you can use to remember your great ideas: write them down. Get into the habit of carrying a folded-up bit of paper and a pen around so that you can write down those slippery little devils.

I carry around pen and paper just because I’m a naturally forgetful person. I write down things I want to do later, because I get the feeling that I won’t remember. but, when I get a really good inspiration, I am sure to write it down. Every so often, I look at the paper just to see if there are any things that I should remember.

That’s another note I’d like to make: when you write it down, it’s still all too easy to forget that you have written it down. Glance at the paper every so often so that you can remember all of your great ideas. Make it a kind of ritual: every time you sit down to work, wake up for the morning, or go to bed, take another look at your paper.

Above all, don’t solely rely on your mind to remind you. Your mind is primarily focused on the here and now. You have to motivate it to think about the future. Be vigilant for ideas that could pay off, whether in your story or in other aspects of your life.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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