Thursday, December 15, 2011

When Inspiration Strikes

Why do great ideas always strike at the most inopportune moments? Like when I'm brushing my teeth, or taking a bath? Or, like the other evening, while I'm chopping fruits for dinner? And then, of course, the idea must be captured, but my notebook is nowhere near, so the kitchen post-it notes will have to do, see my not-so-photogenic picture here. My fingers were too sticky anyway from the oranges to handle my notebook, or worse, to touch the laptop, and I had eggs going on the stove, so no time to trek to the other side of the apartment and write down that idea. Later I must take care to deposit those scribbled-on post-its in my notebook or else they will get lost. It often takes more than one post-it, because as I am chopping, the idea develops further, turns of phrase occur to me, and a good title, and people to talk to.

So the point is that something to write on must always be near, even if it's just a napkin (Isn't it true that so many big laws, or treaties, were cooked up on dinner napkins?), and of course a pen must be near as well. Which is why almost every room in our apartment contains a cup with pens and pencils, or at least a spot where a pen can always be found.

The second point is that ideas always tend to occur when the hands are busy: cooking, brushing, soaping, knitting. So there must be something to that as well: Keep the hands busy and inspiration will come.

16 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness! I thought you were writing about me!

    I missed about 3 hours of sleep last night because ideas were bouncing around in my head. Eventually I got up and sat down at the computer to make some of those ideas happen.

    Thanks for the smiles this morning. :)

    Linda

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  2. Inspiration strikes me when I'm driving. There's no way I can pull over on the side of the road and write something. I'm hoping to get a voice recorder for Christmas. :)

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  3. I always have notebook and pen in my purse. Our house has tons of pens and notebooks, but they seem to migrate to the South Pole when I need them. So I don't have to run to my office or try to remember when my hands are covered in cookie dough, I think I'll use your trick and put a decorative pen holder and small Moleskine notebooks in every single room of the house, including the bathroom.

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  4. This happens to me all the time, which is why I bought myself a digital voice recorder. I use it when I cook, in the car, anywhere and all I have to do is press one button and talk away. I love it.

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  5. Linda - I figured I can't be the only one. Good for you that you got up and got those ideas down. Hope you got some sleep after that!

    Diane - I'm hoping for you, too! I hope you've been dropping hints...

    Julie - yes, let's not forget about the bathroom!

    Kelly - excellent idea, I have to look into a voice recorder!

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  6. There's a reason why the "back of the napkin" analysis is such a common phrase. :-)

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  7. Now I'm wondering if fruit or eggs were part of your idea? Like a story about a family with an apple orchard or if the bittersweet taste of sour lemon drops laced throughout your poem?

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  8. Isn't that the truth? And you'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but I still find myself caught without a pen and paper. Many of my ideas come to me while driving, so a pen and paper wouldn't work then anyway. I have to just keep brainstorming as I drive and hope it stays with me!

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  9. I keep a dictaphone in my glove compartment!

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  10. This is how it has to happen, for some inexplicable reason! Reading your post felt like I am reading about myself! For me, some of my best ideas come when I walk to work ... those I always find hard to capture...Thanks for sharing!

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  11. For me, it's always right before I drift off, so I scramble half-asleep to write it down. It used to happen ALL the time when I had a 9-5 job, too!

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  12. This last line of yours is a gem. I'd write that one on a Post-it Note and stick on the bulletin board in front of you, or the computer screen. It's a good reminder of how simple it can be to find inspiration. I like that thought.

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  13. By the way, I love your new design. The pictures at the top of your blog say a lot about you. So nice!

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  14. Inspiration seems to strike me when I am laying down to sleep. Then I am too sleepy and tired to get up and jot down notes but at the same time...they are sooo good! I feel like a few bestsellers have slipped through my fingers and into my dreams a time or two. LOL!

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  15. Julie Hedlund - exactly! Those napkins come in handy.

    The Desert Rocks - no, the weird thing is my idea that day had nothing to do with food whatsoever.

    LynNerdKelley - sounds like you need a dictaphone in your car like Emily M.!

    Emily M. - always prepared, right?

    E.D. - thanks, glad you could relate. Seems good ideas happen when we are busy with something else.

    Deena - yes, those right-before-sleep ideas are wicked. It happens to me, too, and often I am too lazy to deal with them then, and they are gone the next morning, of course.

    Bike Lady - thanks for pointing out my last line. Post-it is a great idea. Oh, and I'm glad to hear you like my new blog design.

    Natalie - ditto my comment to Deena. At least we're not alone with all that lost brilliance!

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  16. This happens to me all the time, which is why I bought myself a digital voice recorder.

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