On the Imprisonment of Ideas

I knew what I was going to write this blog about. I swear I did. It was in my head clear as a bell yesterday afternoon. It was a good blog post too. Seriously, you have no idea what you’re missing.

But instead you’re reading this. Why? Because I woke up this morning and I couldn’t remember it. I sat around for a while waiting for it to come back. I read some other blogs thinking I might find some trigger for my messed up memory. But I ended up with nuthin’. Nada. Blog idea to the zeroth power.

I’m not the only one either. Some of you have commented here in the past and said, “So Albert, I’m trying to do this blog thing, and I have all these great ideas, only when I get back to my computer I can’t seem to remember any of them.” I think I had some advice for you at the time. Maybe it could help me out too. What was it again? Oh, yeah.


Ideas are everywhere. In the store, at your house, sometimes you’ll even hit one when you’re driving down the road. They make an awful splatter don’t they?

But ideas are visitors. They don’t tend to hang around forever. You need to capture them, drag them flapping and screaming out of your head and cage them up in a place where you can come back to them later.

For a long time I used a small notebook for this. It was something small that I could keep in my back pocket with a stub of a pencil and whenever I had an idea for a story or a blog post or whatever I could take a minute to jot it down.

Lately though I’ve been tinkering with a tool called Evernote. Evernote is a program that works just like a notebook, and the cool part about it is, it syncs to the internet from both my phone and my computer so I can access it wherever I’m at.

Of course it doesn’t work if I don’t use it.

Ideas are the most valuable things we have. Why? Because they’re unique and special to us. If we leave them lying around in our brains they’re liable to get lost.

So that story idea you had about the space alien who goes into business as a landscape artist? Write it down. That totally awesome title for a story you haven’t written yet? Write it down. That plan for vanquishing disease and solving world hunger? WRITE IT DOWN.

Otherwise one day you’ll end up like me, writing a blog post to remind yourself to write your blog post ideas down. And that’s just meta.

11 responses to “On the Imprisonment of Ideas

  1. Dear Albert,

    I hope you did not have to go through this and only took it as a blog topic? What a drag, but I know how it feels. You think, wow, what a terrific idea and you are sure you won`t forget it, but then thousand other developments, circumstances take place and you are in a different setting altogether.

    Writing down ideas is a very good point. I also do this to track my brain which is not easy!

    By the way, my blog is http://www.beatbloodpressure.wordpress.com if you would like to find me. This is my English blog 🙂



  2. Many of my ideas come in dreams and I always convince myself in my sleep that the idea is imprinted enough so as not to evaporate from my memory. The ideas always do, unfortunately. I am learning to keep a little note pad in my back pocket throughout the day and force myself to wake up to write myself a quick note.

  3. Agreed. Now I need to convince my procrastinating self to do so! I usually start my posts in my head so when I think back it’s not just an idea that I’m trying to remember but some of what I would have written as well, which means that most time (though not as often as I like) I’m able to remember bits and pieces and that’s my trigger!

  4. “So Albert, I’m trying to do this blog thing, and I have all these great ideas, only when I get back to my computer I can’t seem to remember any of them.”

    That is soooo me. 🙂

    I have started jotting down ideas in my diary now. My diary has a lot of garbled nonsense in there. 🙂

    One of those ideas turned into a 4,400-word story today and I am beaming with satisfaction. 🙂 Thanks, Albert.

  5. Some of the simplest concepts are the hardest to put into practice. Such common sense advice and yet I, and it appears a few others here too, need this reminder. My problem is that I don’t usually have pockets and haven’t found a convenient way to carry around anything (phone, ipod, wallet) let alone paper and pen. That note taking program you mentioned sounds great, but I’m a starving “artist” and can’t afford to keep up with the rest of the world technologically.

    Whatever. Great advice regardless of my whiny issues. Now back to writing! 🙂

  6. Good point. That’s why I love OneNote (each and every one of us with their weapon of choice), but especially the qwerty keyboard on the phone. Not only great for ideas, good for writing actual blog posts when I’m on the move.

    There’s also something else to say about ideas. I do believe that ideas are a dime a dozen – maybe because I have so many basically good ideas, but don’t follow up so much on them. Because that’s the most important thing – actually moving your b**t to get them done.

  7. Oh yes! And when it’s gone it’s gone so I always carry a pen and a paper everywhere I go. I even have to write things a few minutes before the mass.

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