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I think it’s safe to say that all of my bestselling novels can be summed up by the infamous phrase “I should really write that down…”
It’s usually said internally during a particularly beautiful, full-bodied dream with compelling storyline and enigmatic characters, all of which of course make me not want to leave the dream. Meanwhile, the rational piece of my brain is screeching “Wake up and write it down or you’ll forget it later!”
And I always do forget.
Sometimes, bits and pieces of those dreams reoccur in other, less exciting dreams of the day or night variety, and sometimes I do write them down, but they’re nowhere near as grandiose as the original. They’re left wanting, just waiting until the rest of the story swoops in and fills in the blanks.
As previously mentioned, all of my bestsellers are defined by that little phrase. The story never really comes back to save the day. And that, to me, is heartbreaking.
Now, it should be said that there’s no way of knowing if those dreams, once turned books, would actually be worth anything at all, but the point is that they could. I feel I’ve missed out on some truly amazing content that has been lost to the void of forgotten dreams, and that’s worth something to me. If I could just tap into that void, perhaps I could resurrect some of the ideas a conscious mind would enjoy, unlikely as that may be, but I am a dreamer afterall.
To remedy this problem, I’ve started keeping memos on my phone that are easy enough to pull up and add to in between REM cycles, and a collection of notebooks strewn around my home and office to capture daydreams. They’re not always the most glamorous notes (or understandable, for that matter), but they do the trick.
The hardest part, however, is breaking the habit of telling yourself you’ll remember and/or write it down later, when you have time. You have time now. Write it down. Flesh it out later, but get that idea on paper before it’s whisked away into the void with all of mine.
Depending on what you’re doing (i.e. NOT while driving), I challenge you for the next time you hear yourself think “I’ll write it down/remember it later,” to write it down right then. Don’t let yourself forget the idea that could turn into your masterpiece. Don’t let the chaos of life push your dreams into the void.
Don’t lose your story.
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