One of the most common questions heard by writers is “Where do you get your ideas?” I personally subscribe to the notion put forth by Terry Pratchett in one of his humorous Discworld novels. His theory is that ideas sleet through the universe and land in unsuspecting brains. In fact, it’s possible that this sleet is what makes writers, writers. For me, that explains so much.
Truth is, much like Pratchett’s sleet, ideas happen when you least expect them. They show up at the movies, in the drive-thru, during your morning shower, or, my own personal favorite, while you are hot and heavy in the middle of writing something else. Ideas are fickle beasts. They don’t wait for invitations and often their visits boil down to a mere drive-by, honk, and wave. This means that, in the writing game at least, the trick isn’t having the ideas so much as it is keeping them. This is where the notebook comes in.
Writers can learn a lesson from Steve on Blues Clues –Yes, I said Steve. We kick it old school here. None of that Joe for us. Steve never followed Blue anywhere in their imaginary play land without his Handy Dandy Notebook. If he could carry that notebook and write down clues while hopping into finger paintings and cardboard playhouses, it should be no big deal for you to take one to the car wash, or the grocery store and jot down ideas now, should it?
It doesn’t matter what kind of notebook you keep. You can tote around a large five-subject monstrosity, a steno pad, or one of those fancy Moleskine notebooks favored by Neil Gaiman. When picking one, choose something you will actually carry, or you defeat the whole purpose of having one to begin with.
Once you start keeping track or your ideas, you may be surprised at just how many have been sleeting down on you unnoticed.
Now, all you have to do is find a Thinking Chair.