We all have them, and I am certain that we all have them at some of the most inopportune moments. But, unless you are driving or operating heavy machinery, you should write them down as soon as they fly into your consciousness. Otherwise, they will just fly out of it again and the thought will be lost to the ether forever.
These apparently random thoughts and ideas are actually your unconscious mind telling you something important and for a writer, these are the essential nuggets that drive the creativity deeper and further. So, it is vital that you should write them down as soon as they arrive.
To do this, a writer needs forethought and discipline. Not to try and catch the idea before it happens, but to be ready with pen/pencil and notebook to get it written down at that moment, then. Not 5 minutes later, not after you have had a coffee break, not until the adverts come on during your favourite programme. None of that, write it down NOW! The film or programme will be repeated at some point, this idea may never come to you again.
It is so important to write these little gems down as soon as they arrive, because it is more than likely that as this recording of data starts, another idea will come or the idea will get deeper and more intense so that you are writing on auto pilot, not actually aware of the words because you are tuned in so hard that you allow it to flow.
Always allow that to happen. It was just one of those ideas, a light bulb moment if you will that gave me the idea to change my fantasy faery story Fendrel’s Tale from one volume at 180,000 words into a trilogy. The first 140,000 or so became Volume 1 of the trilogy, the remaining 40,000 words was the whole plot for the second volume, so a lot of re-writing and inserting of new ideas and so on turned that into 91,000 word Volume 2 and a completely new idea and subject became the premise for Volume 3, written as 107,000 words.
This new idea “completes” the story and was such an easy thing to write. I wrote Volume 3 in 21 writing days over a 25 day period. It flowed and flowed with hardly a respite. It was a pleasure writing Volume 3 because it was there, in my head and just flew out onto the page.
So, the key things a writer needs is a notebook dedicated to the piece of work being written right now and a smaller one that they keep with them all of the time to write these flashes down “on the move” as it were.
I still have many “old” notebooks with snippets of things that I have been involved in, overheard, seen and so on that I know when the time is right and an idea is needed, I can go to them and the right idea will come to me, if it hasn’t come as another flash. It is so important to keep writing all of these gems down.
Ideas are the very bones of writing, upon which the flesh is created by the writer. It is therefore essential that every writer gets into the habit of being ready, willing and able to write those flashes of inspiration down as soon as they materialise. Then, you, the writer will have another great book to be written ready for the world to get its teeth into.