Several weeks ago I found myself reading one (okay, several) buzzfeed articles – one of the greatest ways to procrastinate I have found to date. There was one in particular though entitled something along the lines of “Brilliant Inventions” or “Things You Didn’t Know You Needed” (my apologies to BuzzFeed and the author, I tried to find the exact list to link it but was unsuccessful). The list included several unique items, but one stuck with me in particular. I initially dismissed it as clever, cute, and creative, but not something I was going to go pulling my credit card out for.
The item in question was a waterproof notepad and pencil for the shower. Silly, right? A notepad – for your shower? But take a second and consider. It’s actually quite reasonable. I know I’m not alone in that I remember some of the most important things, have some of my most creative thoughts, at the most inconvenient of times. Walking to the store, driving to work, at the gym, and yes, even while conditioning my hair. You tell yourself you’ll remember when you finish, you’ll write it down in just two minutes – when you have a free hand. And yet, lo and behold, when that later comes your mind is occupied with other (supposedly) more important thoughts and your earlier revelation has disappeared from all existence. Like the shampoo down my drain. This little gadget (do I sound like a walking –typing? – ad now?) will allow you to write those thoughts down immediately, so you never forget that million-dollar idea again!
But wait (infomercial much? I swear, not trying to advertise anything here, I don’t even own it)! I’m going to take this one step further. After all, Aqua Notes, as it’s called, only covers that one brainstorming time : the shower. What about all the others? Even with my iPhone, it’s a little hard to add to my Notes TO DO list while on a run. In school, my friends and I used to ‘joke’ about the day when we can simply plug a microchip or other gadget in and immediately know all the research for our anthropology essay. The equations for that calculus II exam? Five-second download and done! Okay, wait, pause, backtrack. That’s more like a leap than a step. I’m getting ahead of myself (or maybe not considering technology advances). I’m torn, though, on how great of a creation that would actually be. I mean we already rely on our computer-in-pockets (they’re more that than normal phones) so much for instant information. I wonder sometimes if it hasn’t started to negatively affect our drive to learn, and to remember information. That’s an idea for another day, though. Back on topic.
As a writer, I so often find myself having my best ideas at the most inopportune of times. It’s not even the idea, though. Even if I have the idea and write it down to refer to later, when later comes I so often find myself suddenly incapable of actually writing it. It just doesn’t feel as right, as natural as it initially had. Earlier, I knew exactly what I was going to write and how I was going to present it. It was perfect! Brilliant! And now, even if I have the idea I can’t remember that brilliant first line. I wrote down the first line before, but now I no longer remember the flow into the rest of the piece. The idea is there but I just can’t seem to get it to cooperate anymore. Like a child having a tantrum it simply no longer wants to be written. “No, you had your chance! Too late now! You should have written me down when I first came!” I still want to write it, but it won’t let me. And no matter how hard I try it just seems forced and awkward. So I stop, give up, write something else. Wander facebook (or BuzzFeed) until it decides to visit again. But so often it doesn’t. At least not until that next most inopportune of times.
So here’s my proposal, brilliant developers of the world. Forget the microchip-in-brain-textbook. I’ll set my ambitions a little lower; make it a little easier for you. Instead, I want simply to ask for a microchip-in-brain-thought-transcriber. Yes, yes, I know we have all that great dictation software out there, and while I’m starting to use Siri a little more for my texts and other tasks, I’m still not completely comfortable with it.
And it’s just not the same, either. There’s a big difference between asking Siri to look up where the nearest grocery store is and reciting an entire page’s worth of stream of conscious writing thoughts or brainstorming ideas. And even if I did try I think I would just start to feel like a crazy person talking to themselves Not that I have anything against that. I mean I do that a lot. That’s half of what writing is, but in those cases it’s truly just to myself. Not my phone/computer/tablet/other-piece-of-technology-we’re-glued-to. And what about at the gym – I don’t know how well Siri can understand me through my huffs and puffs on the treadmill. Or other public places – “I swear I’m not crazy, I just have to tell my phone about why my MC’s best friend is a werewolf museum curator who fell in love with an elf who also… ” And it would go on and on and on, just like this post. Starting to see my reasoning? Yeah, bet you do!
There is a point to this all, I swear. Perhaps it’s just my long-winded excuse for why it’s been… well… three months since my last blog-post (at least it’s more interesting than an actual list of all the other things I’ve been busy with. Or I hope it is at least). I have a long list on my phone of all the post ideas that have come to me at those inconvenient little moments (the worst is in the middle of a conversation with someone and they suddenly realize I’m completely zoning out, or listening to the Rabbi’s sermon and all I can think of is how I can surreptitiously write a note down on my iPhone without anyone noticing). Then I go to write and suddenly none of them are interesting to me anymore. I’m no longer inspired to write about that, or I can’t remember how I wanted to write it, or (really hate this) there’s so many I can’t choose just one and end up with a long, rambling series of paragraphs (even worse than this) that cover both everything and nothing at all.
However, with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated) starting in (yay!) less than a week I’m determined to change my tune. I already have my novel idea for the year –
It came to me at one of those unfortunate times, just as I was finally falling back asleep after being awake for no apparent reason from 3am-5am one morning. I made sure not to let that one pass up and immediately gave up on my hopes of a couple more hours sleep in place of typing furiously away for the following those last precious nighttime hours. I’ll tell you all more about that later, though.
And I am also determined to get through my list of blog posts that I want to write. This includes a wrap up of my Europe travels, returning and adjusting to the States, as well as other trips I have taken recently or plan on taking. It will also include several non-travel posts as well, as I continue to try and branch out with my topics.
I know that it will most certainly be interesting (read : hard) to update the blog while also attempting (completing!) NaNoWriMo but I’m going to try. If I find my novel is taking up too much time, however, I’m determined to pick up blogging again in December at the latest. Even without that microchip-in-brain-transcriber, I have never been one to give up on getting something done, no matter how hard or how hectic. The only way to get over those Most Inopportune of Times, and make the ideas come at Opportune Times is to just keep writing, I find. Eventually, you’ll get something worthwhile. That’s part of what NaNoWriMo is – just write!
In the meantime, while I’m not getting my hopes up for the microchip, AquaNotes and writing sign on my wishlist for this year’s gift exchange with my friends (along with quite a few prompt notebooks and games). Any other writing aids or tricks you like to use when you’re feeling unmotivated? Let me know below, I’m starting a whole collection!