Sunday, 11 November 2012

When and where writing happens

Hello and welcome to act two!

My good friend Maxi recently posed the question "Does a change of scene help your writing?" I wasn't sure how to answer, I don't tend to try it out. I like my cosy sitting room with a netbook perched on my knee.

Then last night, while in a hotel on a rare night away from home, my brain decided that it works best at 2am after the lights go out! I wasn't best pleased. Caffeine may have played a part as much as the location, since I have been decaf all the way for about five years but there was only full caffeine tea available yesterday.

remembering, notes, ideas, inspiration
Taking notes
So as I settled into the nice comfy pile of hotel pillows my mind decided it was the perfect time and place to start writing. It becomes a terrible dilemma. Do you turn on the light and jot down some notes, or dictate to a handy mobile phone? Or do you try to remember what the great idea is as you go to sleep? My mind decided it needed to make a note. Cue scramble for the unfamiliar light switch, a pen and paper and some notes in scrawl that would make a doctor blush. Off goes the light and settle back down. And another idea strikes. Another scramble and more scribbling. Settle down again, and guess what? After about six of these note making fumbles I gave up and made some hot chocolate - what a blessing hotel kettles are. Finally, at nearly 4am, I got to sleep.

I could have tried to sleep and hope I would remember, but I have made that mistake before. About a year ago, after some weeks of struggle, I was lying in bed when suddenly a MacGuffin sprang fully formed to my mind. I was so pleased that this straightforward solution answered so many story problems I was convinced it would still be there in the morning.

How wrong I was. I still can't remember what it was and that story has not progressed.

What I need in this age of technology, is a sound activated dictation machine that then prints out a perfect rendition of the words I speak. I think it can be done with a lot of cash but the cheaper options I have tried have let me down.

So last night I got four hours sleep. Not enough! But I do have about eight pages of notes that I might just be able to decipher and get a chapter or two out of!

Do you get midnight inspiration? Do you keep a pad by the bed? Or are you on the crest of the technology wave and downloading your thoughts direct to an implant in your hand?


  1. Oh totally! And I always think I'll remember it because I'm all nice and warm and don't want to get out of bed, or hubs is asleep and I don't want to wake him by turning on the light. But if I don't turn on the light my careering into the wall shortly followed by the floor would certainly do the trick! Perhaps one of these handy little 'book light' type affairs might work with a notebook by the bed. I have got as far as a dedicated notebook so perhaps it's just a case of remembering to take it with me when it's time for Bedfordshire. I'll have to give it a try - thanks for the prompt!

    ps - great to see you posting again! :)

  2. Maybe a dictation gadget would help, if you could whisper into it to avoid waking anyone?


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