Have you ever jumped up in the middle of the night with a thought or idea only to forget it later when you try to recall the details? It has happened to me many times. Now I have a pad and pencil on my nightstand to grab and jot it down before it fades. It is also the reason I do not put a glass of water next to my bed. I am way too clumsy to NOT knock it over. Anyway, my post today isn’t about my late night dexterity but the “eureka” moment.
Let me explain.
When I had to run a meeting, I would see people with that “anywhere but here” look or “I want to sleep” look. Therefore, I researched how to do presentations, and learn quite a bit. Applying what I learned made my meetings in the future more productive. One of the best tips I learned was to let it go.
Let it go? What does that have to do with giving a presentation?
Well, nothing. It has to do with the entire meeting. Follow me on this and I bet it will help you as well. Letting it go is simply a way to focus or concentrate on the task and be more productive, in this example it’s a meeting. When you have a question or idea, write it down. Then go back to who was speaking, freeing yourself from having to remember the thought, question or idea that popped into your head. When it’s your time to speak, look down at your notes and refresh your mind.
However, this blog is about writing not meetings. How could it make you more productive as a writer? What writer wouldn’t want to be more productive? I know I would.
Keep a pad of paper with you at all times. I have one in my car for this very reason. When an idea, situation or question pops into your head, write it down…and then let it go. You don’t have to try to remember any details, just write it at that point, and let it go.
Here is an example to help explain. I was listening to the radio while driving. Some of the lyrics stuck in my head. I thought, “Wow what type of situation could happen to trigger him to write that line.” Then my writers mind took over and off I went thinking of what or how that would fit into a scene. I wrote down these thoughts and let it go.
A couple of days later I heard the same song, more ideas sprouted in my head. I pulled out the pad and all the previous thoughts flooded back. I pulled over because you should never write and drive… I wrote more ideas down. Then let it go.
Two weeks later, I pulled out my pad to type up the pages as they were rather crumpled. The ones about the song stuck in my head even more now. I took them and wrote out a synopsis for a story. I didn’t want to write it then; my current work in progress was in control of my writing brain. I let it go.
After I finish that current project, I wanted to find my next adventure in writing so I gazed through my story notes folder and found my synopsis. Bingo! I pulled it out, re-read it, and instantly started plotting it out. I’m half way done with the screenplay, which sprang from that one idea as I write this.
I have done this with every story idea since that day. I always have something I could be writing. Some ideas will sit there for months before I revisit them. The key is to let it go that way when you return to it is fresh in your mind. You get the thrill of the new idea with a lot less work.
Get those ideas down, those little snippets, pieces of dialog you hear or whatever. You never know when you might need it in your current project. If you write it down, then let it go you can free your mind and increase your productivity. No more writers block. No more what should I write next. Let me know how well this works for you or if you have a similar system. I love to learn way to be more productive so let me hear them.