Why I don’t keep notes on my story ideas

If you don’t keep a notepad by your side at all times, are you even a proper writer? Well, I don’t, so maybe I’m not.

It’s a romantic image though isn’t it? A writer, with a notepad by his or her bedside, ready for when they get a sudden surge of inspiration in the night that they just have to get down.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to have a notepad like this. But honestly, most of the stuff I wrote was nonsense. When you’re half-asleep, something which sounds like genius to you is clearly utter gumph when you wake up in the morning. We’ve all had it: “What on earth was that supposed to mean?” I’ve done this more times that I care to admit.

And you see, there’s a bigger problem for me when it comes to keeping notes. Once you’ve had an idea, and it just stays in your head, it either stays or goes. It has to earn its place. But when you make a note of everything, you’ve already committed to having an idea forensically looked at. You’ve already decided that you have to give it some dedicated time, even if you just dismiss it later.

Stephen King famously called a notebook a repository for bad ideas, and sadly I agree with him.

But what about you? Do you cling onto your notebook with a passion? Would it be tough to pry it from your cold dead hands?

Whatever works, I guess!