Monday, June 25, 2007

Writing in the moment

How do you tend to handle strokes of genius? When I get a good idea for a story or an essay, I'll jot it down on a scratch pad until I have a chance to outline it in a new Word file. Unfortunately, that means I have a whole bunch of outlines that I've never gone back to.

While visiting my grandpa, I learned the value of "writing in the moment" -- when the idea is fresh. Looking at one of the old photographs (a baby picture of my real grandmother, who died in 1990) in his study, I suddenly got an idea for a personal essay. For a little while, I debated on whether to just take some notes, but eventually I decided to take the plunge and write it then and there. And I was so glad I did! I finished the essay after only a couple of hours' work, and it was some of the most enjoyable time I've spent writing in a long time.

It's difficult to do sometimes, but I've decided that as frequently as possible, I need to write my ideas as I think of them -- especially because I've had so many ideas lately. The last thing I want is for them to molder away as forgotten outlines on my hard drive!

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