Did you ever wake up in the night with a great idea for a story, or a cracking line for a poem? Or did the muse strike when you were driving, or doing some other uninterruptable activity?
You know where this is going, I’m sure? Inspiration strikes and you need to record the brilliance of your idea, but because the time isn’t right to write, you think you’ll remember it for later. But of course, you don’t.
Recently, I was in the cinema watching a film and an unrelated good idea came to me in a flash. I reached into my bag, found a pen and notebook and scribbled down the few words I expected would trigger the memory later. It was dark, so I couldn’t see what I was writing, and I didn’t realise the pen wasn’t working. Imagine my feelings when I later checked my notebook and found – nothing. Not even an impression from the pen. The funny thing is, I haven’t a clue what I had written – it is as if that stroke of creative genius never happened.
The moral of the story is, of course, don’t carry pens that don’t work. But also, go all out to record something of your flashes of inspiration because the chances are, you will forget them otherwise. This is why I keep a pen and notebook beside the bed for when a good idea interrupts sleep and I don’t want to disturb my partner. Scribbles in the dark often prove to be fruitful, even if the handwriting is appalling!
Notebooks with good ideas are my theme for today’s writing prompt. I’m often to be found trawling through old notebooks where I’ve written a few lines, perhaps in a workshop, and then moved on.
If you have some old notebooks (what, you don’t keep them, like I do? How odd!)try mining them for some nuggets of past inspiration. You may be surprised by how much new work you can create from an old idea.
As ever, this is just for fun. Write a piece of flash fiction (300 words) or a poem (40 lines max) from something you have gleaned from an old notebook – or that involves an old notebook. Or if you don’t have old material to go through, try writing some creative non-fiction (800 words)about where you might go to find inspiration.
If you are new here, welcome! If you’re a regular, you might have noticed I haven’t posted for a while.
Well, I haven’t died yet, nor am I ill (so far as I know, although I have had Covid. Possibly twice, but definitely once), I’ve not left the country (one trip to England doesn’t count), I’ve not joined a cult, I haven’t moved house, divorced, started a new job, had any more children (!), or done any other stress-inducing, life-changing things.
And I haven’t given up writing, despite what you might think because I went from uploading a post a week here to… well, nothing for quite a while (sorry!). It just so happened I decided to take a long hard look at what I wanted from this writing lark and took a bit of a break.
I stopped sending out to journals and competitions for a few months and just concentrated on writing for my own enjoyment. But writing can be a bit of a compulsion, can’t it? And an audience is good, so here I am again.
As before, call in every Wednesday at 5pm (Dublin time) for a new post from me, tips, prompts and creative writing exercises. Follow this blog to get notifications of new posts.
So – see you next week, and meanwhile, happy writing!