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I’m a Little Teapot

One of the things I’ve recently learned about writing is the importance of keeping a notepad with me at all times, so I can write down good ideas when I have them. Sounds obvious, right? But let me tell you, for the longest time I didn’t bother. I just expected my inspirational moments to come back and re-visit at a more convenient time (a-k-a when I was sitting at my computer). I also know I’ve lost thousands of great plot lines because I simply didn’t take ownership of them when I had them in my head.

Writers naturally have busy, busy brains. We’re constantly mulling over potential storylines, characters and motivations. If you’re like me, many are rejected long before we begin typing, but personally speaking I know that others have been lost forever because they were not fertilized when I had them in my grasp. I didn’t even make the metaphorical pot of tea, let alone giving the tea inside of it time to steep.

Many writing coaches suggest using the technology we have in our hands as a note-taking tool, which is great advice for today’s tech-savvy generation. I’ve tried this too, but it doesn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still whip out the notes app on my iPhone in a pinch, because, let’s face it, everyone checks their phone these days and it’s become socially acceptable to do so. It’s certainly less obtrusive than diving for my notebook in the middle of lunch date with one of my girlfriends because she just said something profound, (or funny, or stupid), that I’d like a character to say at a later date.

For me though, there’s more value in putting pencil (one of my quirks) to paper when inspiration hits. I like to doodle while I’m thinking creatively, even though I regret my decision after the fact because I have terrible OCD. But, while the rest of my life may seem orderly, I allow this one messy indulgence because that’s where my ideas are born and either nurtured to fruition, or not. On occasion when I revisit an idea, I realize how remarkably dumb it was. And that’s okay too. Mickey Mantle didn’t hit a home run every time he stepped up to the plate; hell, some of my favorite authors confess to having written a hundred words only to eliminate ninety-nine of them.

It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve been writing, or whether any of what you’ve written ever gets read by another set of eyes, if the act of writing provides joy, go for it. Remember though, it’s only a lucky few who find inspiration arriving at the exact hour they’ve carved out of their busy day for such purposes. Imagination simply doesn’t work like that. Instead, we need to be ready to delve back into our notebooks to find our best ideas.

Trust me on this, by using a notebook you’ll quickly discover your teapot brimming with ideas, and while some will be good, some brilliant, and some so ridiculous you’ll wonder what you were thinking, it doesn’t matter. There will almost certainly be ones in there that are ready to be poured into the keyboard; the results of which might just amaze you.

So, go and pour yourself a “cuppa” as the Brits would say, and make some magic happen!

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