By Jennifer Goble
I was recently driving to a holiday party when I saw a beautiful sunset. A dispersion of pink, gold, blue, and lavender illuminated the horizon. I immediately began looking for a place to pull over. Once stopped, I found the camera on my phone, rolled down the window, and curiously the sunset was gone. The only thing in sight was rooftops.
Confused and disappointed I continued toward my destination. A few minutes later, the gorgeous sunset was again right in from of me. It finally dawned on me, I was driving on circular streets. The stratum of vivid color appeared, and as quickly, disappeared.
I wasn’t turning corners or taking a detour, the street was just gently curved. The experience made me think of how writing ideas are similar. Ordinary events and responsibilities such as holidays, birthdays, the flu, or getting the car serviced, mimic the curved street. I can be in a creative writing zone and then, poof, it’s gone because life calls. My creativity and focus can be lost in the interference.
Profound quotes, historical connections, and research findings are often spoken, and my memory fails me. I might get a brief glimpse of who was talking and what they were talking about, but random thoughts intrude.
Similar to chasing a sunset for the perfect shot, many feature topics, characters, plots, and scenes are lost, never to be retrieved with original detail.
What I find interesting and encouraging, is my second thoughts are often richer; those evolving later, after what I lost in the moment. For example, the sunset tomorrow night might be more brilliant and spectacular than the one currently disappearing. What sparks a new twist in a story today might be more relevant or inspirational than the ah-ha moment of yesterday.
Even though I can rationalize losing a great idea, I often think like a fisherman; the best one got away. Great material is fleeting, and I hate to lose magical possibilities. Therefore, I carry a note pad and pencil, and make notes and use voice memo on my phone. Even with tools, it is often difficult to capture the true moment of enlightenment; it is embarrassing to take notes during church, dangerous while driving, and impossible while exercising. HELP
Capturing genius thoughts is as challenging as snapping the perfect sunset on a circular street, but writers do it all the time. We have tenacity.
How do you capture YOUR writing ideas?
Until the next time: Live while you live!
Blog/Rural Women’s Stories project: www.JenniferGoble.com
Author: My Clients…My Teachers: The Noble Process of Psychotherapy