Remember Dory, the standout character in Finding Nemo with anterograde amnesia?
Well, let’s just say I’m the human version of Dory.
She once told Nemo “I suffer from short-term memory loss. I forget things almost instantly. It runs in my family… I think it does.”
Yeah, that would be me and my ‘Dory Memory’.
As someone who writes for a living, it can be quite frustrating to forget things all the time. Maybe it’s just me, but the older I got the more I realized how unreliable my memory is.
Emails, meetings, promises, phone calls, they all get lost in the heat of the daily grind.
Take for instance, sometime last month, as I was drifting asleep, I had the most incredible idea for an article pop into my mind. In fact, it was so brilliant that I was sure I’d remember it in the morning, so I didn’t bother to write it down.
Alas! I woke up the next morning with no recollection of even having the idea, let alone what the idea was. As I write this piece, I still can’t for the life of me remember what it was.
So! To combat my awful memory, I decided it was about time I kept a writer’s notebook.
This is one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received – to keep a notebook with you at all times.
Problem is, due to my ‘Dory Memory’ I tend to forget and lose my stuff all the time. So, there was the issue of always losing my notebook. But I was determined. And since inspiration can strike anywhere, ESPECIALLY when you’re not at your desk, I had to figure out a way to record my ideas before they zoom off, never to be seen again.
So I keep a notebook. I also keep a pile of clippings, post its, pieces of paper; my desk is full of them. Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I saw the top of my desk.
But hey, whatever it takes to keep the creativity tap running, amirite?
Once I had to run out of the shower to quickly type out an article that casually wandered into my head before it had the chance to wander off again.
Over the years, I ditched the hardcopy writer’s notebook and migrated to note taking software which I can access from anywhere. It took some getting used to but it’s almost second nature now.
Sometimes, because my muse keeps odd hours, I have to crack open WhatsApp and jot down my ideas in rapid fire, and send them to myself. Again, whatever it takes to trap those ideas!
So what do you put down in your writer’s notebook?
Literally, anything. When you see something that makes you think, or feel something, write it in your notebook! Your notebook may contain ideas, words, quotes, song lyrics… the list is endless!
With so many deliverables, I get to read hundreds of books, journals, articles every week. I also have diverse clients and numerous details to remember about each of them. Not to mention having to remember the day to day activities and family celebrations.
Then there’s church, volunteering, weddings to attend, a hundred other things life demands of you. So it’s easy to miss the fine details on many things.
This is just to say, writing things down is a life and career saver.
It’s a habit to embrace.
Photo Credit: Variety