The Notebook: A Writer’s Secret Weapon

Posted by: Melissa Crytzer Fry  :  Category: Inspiration

I was watching a movie with my husband recently (They Were Soldiers), and in the middle of it, the perfect opening line for a future novel popped into my head.

It was brilliant. Wonderful. Gripping. Succinct. And, sadly…gone as quickly as it had arrived.


Because I didn’t follow the advice I’d read in so many “how to” writing books. You know, the ones about keeping a notepad in every conceivable place possible – on your night stand, in your car, in your purse, in the kitchen, next to the toilet (okay, maybe not there – though some of my best thinking happens in the shower, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea).

Even when I’m thinking through a magazine assignment, more often than not, the opening line pops up when I least expect it. During one article assignment, I was cooking dinner and literally ran to the computer monitor, stirring spoon in hand, to jot down the words that had magically appeared – before I forgot them.

So, you see, I should have known better during my ah-ah movie moment, and should have walked the ten steps to my desk, ignoring the voice of ‘reason’ that said, “Surely you’ll remember those words that were delivered so effortlessly to you.” I didn’t.

Maybe this doesn’t happen to everyone, but my creative muse seems to speak at the most inopportune times. Maybe it’s the creative mind’s way of keeping us on our toes? Or maybe I just need to heed the advice that so many have given before, carrying my little notebook – or notebooks – everywhere I go.

What will you do if a napkin, book of matches, a pen, your cell phone, iPod or laptop, aren’t available when inspiration strikes?

Probably the same as me… wonder, wonder, wonder, what could have been.
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20 Responses to “The Notebook: A Writer’s Secret Weapon”

  1. Natasha Says:

    I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve had so many missed opportunities I never go anywhere without a notepad now. I was in the middle of a movie, Avatar (awesome), when a random idea hit me. My SO thought I was nuts but I grabbed the paper and a pencil and jotted the idea down by the light of the screen.

    Great blog btw 😉

  2. Birgitte Says:

    Twitter: necessarywriter
    My best moments come when I’m driving. Do I have a tape recorder? NO. Do I have paper? Sometimes, but scribbling on the back of the thin gasoline receipts at every red light is problematic at best…and downright annoying to other motorists at worse. (“Oh, get a clue, driving under the speed limit SAVES gas.” LOL)

  3. Jonathan Says:

    My wife just bought me a couple of cheapy hardcover composition books ($1 each!) to carry around. And I will do just that! Thanks for the post.

  4. Melissa Says:

    Twitter: CrytzerFry
    My SO thinks I’m nuts, too. But that’s what makes writers special! I now have the tiny notepads and post it pads all over the place! Good for you for being a faster learner than I am!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Test =-.

  5. Melissa Says:

    Twitter: CrytzerFry
    Ah yes… driving! Agreed that it is difficult to juggle pen/paper and steering wheel. The tape recorder’s a great idea!

  6. Melissa Says:

    Twitter: CrytzerFry
    You have a wise and supportive wife. That’s great! Good luck with your writing.

  7. Birgitte Says:

    Twitter: necessarywriter
    Last night I got lucky and had a teenager in the car with me. As I drove by a particular barber shop an entire scene opened up for me. I dug through my purse for a pen and a folded up half-portion of some paid bill or another and threw them at him, saying, “Write while I dictate. Make it readable.” LOL. Worked!

  8. Melissa Says:

    Twitter: CrytzerFry
    Teenagers can come in handy during those situations :-).

  9. angie mizzell Says:

    Twitter: angiemizzell
    Mine come in the shower. Perhaps I should steal the washable crayons from my son’s bathtub?
    .-= angie mizzell´s last blog ..Introducing… =-.

  10. Melissa Says:

    Twitter: CrytzerFry
    Angie -Mine, too. That’s a great idea!

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