Six months ago I was taking a shower when I had an idea. It was back story material that would solidify the major plot hook for a fantasy trilogy project that I've been working on for the past several years. I was in love with the idea and couldn't stop wondering why it took me so long to figure it out. I was proud of the idea as I dried off and got dressed. I was patting myself on the back over breakfast. I was confident that this would be the next "The Lord of the Rings" as I walked out the door and headed to work. I have been trying to remember all of the details to that back story ever since. While I didn't forget everything, I also didn't remember everything either.
There is no excuse for the above. I have pens, pencils, paper, a few notebooks, a PC and a smartphone with a notepad app. I had everything at my disposal to write down the ideas and every incentive to stop what I was doing to take the time to jot down those thoughts. I'm always busy. That's just the life of a lawyer. Even so, there's no excuse for not taking one minute to write down those thoughts.
Life is hectic. Trust me, I know. Between work, friends and family demands, there usually isn't a lot of time left to write. This doesn't mean that the ideas have to stop flowing. In fact, if you're like me, you're always thinking about ideas for the next story. This makes it all the more important to write down your thoughts and ideas. No matter what's going on you can stop for 30 seconds to jot down a few words and lines to capture your idea and jog your memory later. There just isn't any good reason to lose the beginnings of what could be your next best seller (with the exceptions of sex, birth of your kid, BBQ'ing, or meeting Edward James Olmos in person). In fact, as modern day writers we have every incentive to write down and capture all of our ideas because they, and the time to actually write, are so fleeting. Chances are, like me, you work and write. After working ten and twelve hour days five or six days a week, there is very little time left for writing. Likewise, sitting back in a nice comfy chair and waiting for the ideas to materialize just isn't an option. When the spare time to write is there, you have to take the opportunity to write. Yet, if you didn't write your ideas down then you'll find that you just wasted a good chunk of your writing time by trying to figure out what to write about.
Whether its keeping a note pad nearby or jotting notes into an app on your phone, just do it! You'll thank yourself later, especially when it comes time to publish your story down the road. Learn from my mistake. It isn't my first and it won't be my last. If this saves you from having to try and remember a really good book idea, then I'll be a happy writer. If you've got a better idea, or just general tips for not losing your thoughts, feel free to share.