The ones that get away

I woke up three times in the night trying to solidify a blog post idea for today that was flitting around my mind. But like the beautiful,  colorful, yet elusive butterflies that grace my gardens from the spring to the fall, the idea flitted away. I woke with nothing.

I have been carrying a small notebook in my purse for a while now to catch these elusive ideas, and sometimes I do. I bought a tape-recorder many years ago and kept it in my car for those times when my mind loves to play as I drive along a highway. I rarely used it. Instead, when a wayward, yet interesting thought pops into my head, I try my old memorization technique of repetition until I can get someplace where I can write it down. That usually works during the day. But at night, not so much.

Perhaps another little notebook on my bedside table?

My next task is to get myself organized and collect the snippets I do catch somewhere I can find them again. Maybe next year will be the year.

So here’s to the fascinating post that never made it out of my head and you and I will never read.

Do you ever lose great ideas? What do you do to catch and keep them?

From Butterflies of Brazil —2011 Butterfly Show at the Krohn Conservatory

35 thoughts on “The ones that get away”

  1. There’s a little notebook in my purse too and that I use more often. Last summer we were on a bike vacation in the south of England and when Vman stopped for gas, I said ‘Don’t talk, say nothing!’, and started scribbling in my notebook for five minutes 😉 He understood hehehe.

    My latest tool is the app Evernote on my iPhone. Here I can type down thoughts and prompts, and it will synchronize with my computer, so I have access everywhere.

    But like you I lose beautiful and interesting thoughts in that dreamlike state, where they seem so clear. Then every-day life barges in.

  2. I lose plenty of ideas that I think would be great blog posts. If I have computer access I will often start a post and just put a future schedule date on it so it stays forefront for me for when I’m ready to expand upon it and eventually post it.

    Tossing It Out

    1. I do the same thing, Lee. But sometimes this great big beautiful post idea I have that I jotted two sentences down about to remind myself, loses it’s luster, and quite often the majority of its content when I return to it. I’m going to try to work more on getting things back out of my mind this year.

  3. I know exactly how you feel Christine and have waged the same battle for almost 60 years – what to do with those “middle of the night thoughts.” The only solution that works for me is to get up and go into my office and write it down. The interesting thing is that I am able to fall back to sleep in a contented way and in the morning I can deal with whatever it was. When I ignore my own advice, I sleep ( if at all) fitfully and like you, the thought is never there in the morning.

    1. It’s good to know I am in good company. When I was writing my memoir Dancing in Heaven, I did get up and write, often for several hours. But a random thought or two can’t seem to rouse me from my bed. I’m going to try a bedside notebook and/or recorder.

  4. I think we all lose great ideas from time to time. I like to believe that my mind is like a big wheel that turns slowly and that eventually, I will get a chance to grab onto them again. And yes, notebook beside the bed for sure!

  5. Constantly, but almost never while I’m sleeping! Nonetheless, I use all the methods you’ve described…. and I also use my iphone recorder. I’ve never thought of this before this post, but I assume I could use my recorder in the middle of the night — at night I keep my phone plugged in on the nightside table! Maybe you could keep the recorder there? Who knows what crazy dreams you could end up recording!? 🙂

    1. I don’t know why I never thought of my phone recorder. It’s always beside my bed at night since I missed an early morning call from our son who was in a car wreck last year. Great idea. I’m going to try it.

  6. I lose ideas often, especially at night. I have notebooks and scraps of paper everywhere. I have actually been a little more successful this year at jotting down an idea and pursuing it, but not always. I am carrying a little notebook, a journal, and a book to write in as well as my camera to Slovakia in the hopes that my ideas actually find some form while I am there. I was thinking about taking a cassette player as well, but I decided against it. Wish me luck.

    1. Wow. I’ve got to get over to your blog. Slovakia???

      I have the same problem with bits and scraps of paper here, there, and everywhere. Just one more thing to add to my “To be organized” to-do list.

      Now where did I put that list?

  7. Gosh, can I relate! I have to write everything down or it’s gone for good. I’m like Lisa. I keep notebooks everywhere!

    And, gosh, I’m loving the memoir. I only have a short while to read every day, but it’s moving along well. Wish I could have known Annie!


    1. I have little things stashed here and there too. One of my goals is to get it all together in one place.

      I’m glad you’re liking Annie’s story. She was a sweetheart.

  8. I chuckled when I read this because I do all of the same things: keep a notepad in my purse, a little tape recorder in my car, a spiral notebook by my bed, and memorization techniques well rehearsed. Great post!

  9. Carrying around a tiny notebook has been helpful when great material runs fleetingly though the brain. Too much of my good ideas come while dreaming. I tried putting the notebook under my pillow but it has not worked.

    1. The only problem with journals is knowing how to keep them in a safe place or somehow organizing the precious little gems inside, especially if you, like me, have multiple little journals.

  10. As an attorney, if I woke with thoughts running through my mind that I didn’t want to forget, I would call my office from bed to leave myself a voice mail.

    Now, if I think it’s truly important, I get up and write it down. If not, I turn over, ask the Universe to remind me in the morning, and go back to sleep. 😀

    1. That voice mail idea is a good one. I guess the recorder on my phone will do just as well.

      Maybe I too should ask the Universe for a little assistance.


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