Capturing Ideas: How Do You Do It?

By Jennifer Blanchard

How many times have you had an idea for something—a story, a poem, a random scene, a character—at an inconvenient time (while you’re driving, when you aren’t near paper and a pen)? Countless probably.

That very thing happened to me this morning while I was driving to work. I was just driving along listening to 311 and thinking about what I have to write for this week (two blog posts, two columns for and work on the copy and content for my health site).

Then suddenly, I’m stopped at a red light and an idea for a freelance article hits me. Before I have a chance to grab my Blackberry to write the idea down, thou, the light turns green and I have to drive again.

For the next ten minutes, ideas keep coming to me—a blog post, another freelance article, a note to my friend—and I was unable to write anything down.

Grabbed my Blackberry at the next light. Pull up the voice note recorder program…out of space. Don’t have my work cell phone with me, so I can’t call my personal phone and leave a voice message with the ideas.

Need my writing notebook. Need it now.

At the next light, I grab my notebook, tuck the pen in my hand…and then the light turns green. Have to start driving again.

Of course, all of the lights are green for the next 10 minutes. Meanwhile the ideas are stacking up in my head and I’m starting to sweat, worried I’ll forget everything by the time I stop again.

Finally, I stopped long enough to write everything down. Phew…ideas rescued.

How many times has this happened to you? What tool(s) do you use for capturing your ideas?

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

Ed. Note: The links marked “a story” and “a character” are affiliate links to Larry Brooks’ amazing e-books on story structure and creating believable characters. If you’re a fiction writer—these books needs to be in your arsenal of tools.

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