Driving the little man home from baseball practice the other day, I had a great idea for a blog post. Normally, when an idea occurs to me, I either jot it down in my Field Notes notebook, or enter it into my Blog project on Todoist. Either gets it out of my head and someplace safe. The problem I had the other day was that I was driving. I couldn’t pull out my Field Notes notebook, and I couldn’t enter the idea into Todoist. I was also talking to the Little Man. I told myself that it was such a good idea, there’s no way I’d forget it.
As the title of this piece suggests, I forgot it. That night, as I drifted to sleep, I tried hard to reclaim the idea. I crept right up close to the idea, but never close enough to remember what it was.
When I first started out writing, I worried that I’d never have enough good ideas to write about. That was silly. I have never had to worry about getting an idea for something to write about. What I have had to worry about, especially as I get older, is keeping the idea. I used to tell myself—like I did the other day—that there was no way I could forget a good idea. But I can and I do. It makes me wonder how many good ideas I’ve lost over the years. There is absolutely no way of knowing.
I can’t be the only one who has ever lost a good idea. How many good ideas get lost every day? How many good ideas have been lost over the course of human civilization? I shudder to think of this.
Some of my best ideas come to me when I am in the shower. I don’t know why this is. Perhaps it is one of the few times during the day when I let my mind wander. I was in the shower the other day puzzling over how I might start a story that I’d been struggling with. I figured it out while rinsing my hair. A good thing, because, worried that I might lose the idea, I dashed out of the shower to jot down the idea so I wouldn’t forget it.
Every writer has people suggesting ideas to them. Non-writer friends say, “I have a great idea for a novel I’d like to write if I ever could find the time.” Then the offer me the idea. I can’t give you any examples because I never write these ideas down. And because I don’t write them down, I don’t remember them.
Sometimes, I wish I could scroll through my recent memory, the way I scroll back through my browser history to find a web page. It wouldn’t have to go back far. Just the last hour or so would suffice. That way, when a good idea occurs to me and I don’t have the opportunity to jot it down at once, I could scroll back through my memory to retrieve it.
I’m certain that the idea I lost on Saturday was brilliant. And while I try to be humble here, I’d venture to say it would have made the single greatest blog post I’d ever written. Too bad I lost it.
OMG… This hit very close to home. In fact, I’m starting to think I need some whiteboard markers in the shower. I can literally forget a great idea in the time it takes me to get out of the shower and get to my phone! LOL
Alas. This is such a familiar thing. But what’s even worse is discovering that an idea you had long ago, for which you never made time, has been turned into something cool by someone else.
I’m not even sure what the comment was that I was going to type here – something wise and witty, I’m sure.