The Value of Those Voices in the Night

A few nights ago I woke up with a great idea for a blog. By morning, I forgot it! I am so upset that I didn’t write it down. That in turn gave me a different idea for a blog, so I’m writing about the value of remembering to write down a good idea RIGHT AWAY! Those voices in the night are simply the product of your writer’s brain offering up ideas. 

How often have you dreamed something or had a great thought in the middle of the night? It was so real and so vivid that you were sure you would remember every detail in the morning. Then morning came, and you wanted to tell your hubby or a friend about it … or hurry and write it down … and alas! It was gone! You could remember only a tiny bit of it – and sometimes none of it! 

Sometimes it isn’t even a dream. It can simply be a great thought that has come to you in the middle of the night when you are staring into the darkness, eyes wide open, whether with worry, or because you have been struggling with how to solve the mess you’ve written your characters into without knowing how to get them out of it. Even then, by morning, that great idea can be completely gone.

As a writer, these dreams or deep thoughts can be valuable. You soon learn that you had better keep a note pad beside your bed and hope you actually wake up quickly enough from your dream to preserve it, because it just might make a great story plot. Or, if you are lying awake and come up with just the right answer for whatever you need for your story, you can quickly write it down then and there. Believe me, even though you are awake, the thought can still be gone when morning comes.

I have learned that even when a good idea strikes in the middle of the day, I had better quickly make note of it because life gets so busy that thought can go away as fast as it came to me. If you don’t have pencil and paper on hand, remember your cell phone. Almost everyone has their cell phone with them all the time, including by the bed stand as they sleep. I have often used the “Notes” section in my cell phone to jot down an idea. The last time we drove west, I took notes in my phone as we passed through certain areas out west. I wanted to remember the landscape in those particular areas. I took pictures and also kept notes because pictures don’t always do justice to particular details you want to remember.

Of course, I come from a time when there were no cell phones or even computers! One morning while getting ready for work, a thought came to me that I just knew would make a good story. I had no cell phone to quickly make a note with – and no paper and pen ready. I was drying my hair and was running late, so I wrote the idea down on the back of my check book with an eyebrow pencil! For some reason I always remembered that moment. The idea turned into one of my all-time favorite books – OUTLAW HEARTS – and 20 years later I wrote the sequel plus two more and it became a 4-book series. I want to write a fifth book, and also a story about the hero’s grandson. And it all came from an idea written down with an eyebrow pencil on a check book. I would give anything to still have that note to look at just for the fun of it – and to show to other writers.

Don’t underestimate the value of those voices in the night … or even those quick ideas that come during the day. WRITE THEM DOWN by any means possible! I am one of those people who is constantly daydreaming, so I have to be ready at all times for that new idea. A writer’s mind is always spinning with ideas and characters, no matter what else they are doing at the time. Pad and paper, or that good ole’ cell phone, are a must 24/7! Listen to those voices in the night and you just might come up with a best seller!


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