Yes. This happened.
My brain does not store ideas very well. Wherever I am, no matter what I’m doing, if I get an idea, I have to stop and write it down. It’s usually just a few words or a very short description or even a headline or title — but it’s something. It’s the confirmation I need that I won’t forget about it.
Except sometimes, I’m in the middle of writing something at work. And when an idea slams itself into my existence, sometimes I do what you’re never supposed to do when you have an idea: “Good idea! I’ll write that down in a second.”
A second is never a second. Today, I just straight up forgot.
I don’t think you should start working on a new project the moment you’re first inspired. Ideas need time to mature before they can become Things. But if you’re anything like me, your brain is a constant traffic jam of thoughts all trying to go different directions at the same time. When a new idea tries joining the fray, if you don’t somehow document the fact that it exists, it’s going to get lost.
I have a running list of ideas for things I want to work on at some point. Sometimes I go months without looking at it, because I’m confident in my simple form of idea storage (a Google Doc). I can’t forget an idea, because its original “birth” is right there where I can see it. There’s no rush to work on something — especially when I know I want to pursue it, but don’t have room in my schedule at the moment.
(This does happen. Sometimes “someday, but not right now” is a healthy way to manage the occasional flare of ideas that catches you off guard when you’re swamped with Other Responsibilities.)
When you get a new idea, it might FEEL urgent. But it isn’t.
Yet if you feel like you’re going to forget about it, write it down. GOSH DARN IT STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WRITE IT DOWN. This has been a struggle for me for years. I know myself well enough — if I do not stop and scribble, I WILL NOT REMEMBER AND IT WILL DESTROY ME.
Sigh. I liked it. It was a good idea, I thought.
But do you know what’s amazing about good ideas? They always come back to you. Somehow.
And that (after many brain-breaking minutes of not being able to remember) is the origin story of the post you get to read tomorrow.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.