Monday, May 24, 2010

Write It Down!

(*Before I get to this blog, do you remember that book review blog I talked about starting last month? Well, I started it. After this Wednesday, most of my reviews and author interviews will be posted there, starting with a review of Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes. Go check it out and become a follower. I promise to have cool contests there, too.) And now on to my Monday topic.

Ah, the notebook. A writer’s best friend and constant companion in which we are constantly scratching notes, doodles, lists, and other various tidbits of thought that come to us at all hours of the day and night. Why do we do this? Because our thoughts, epiphanies, spiritual promptings or universal direction are priceless. And if we don’t write them down, we will forget.

Did you get that? We WILL forget. I don’t care about your spectacular memory skills, because the truth is, we can’t all remember every single thing that has ever happened to us. It’s not humanly possible. We forget. We will all forget the most important moments in our lives. Unless…

We write it down. Write it down. Write it down. Write it down.

I can’t say that enough. Think about it. Cameras were invented so people could capture certain moments in time, freezing those images and embedding them on paper to be remembered forever. But there is no camera that can capture a feeling in your heart, words in your head, or a universal aha moment that may—or may not—end up being a life-altering realization. We have to write it down, just as we would aim and click a camera.

Don’t worry about spelling or grammar or if you have the skills to do it right. Just write it while you can, and fix the mistakes later.

Okay, so now you’re saying, “But I don’t know what to write,” or, “I can’t find the right words.”

See, here’s the thing. Once you touch pen to paper, just allow yourself to let it flow. Write and write and write until you find the words, because eventually they’ll come to you. Writing in itself is cathartic, not to mention therapeutic. Only on computer screen or paper can we continue to truly pour out our innermost thoughts and feelings until we’re empty.

But here’s a secret. You’ll never actually be empty, because the more you write, the more you feel and think and see, and you will find you have more to say. Writing in itself tends to be a unique spiritual experience for the writer. Even the writer who isn’t writing to be an author.

There is no pause or rewind button for life. But some things are meant to be remembered. Write them down. You will never be sorry you did, but you will certainly be sorry if you don’t.


Tess said...

great advice ... I have pulled so many characters or images from that notebook. it gives a sense of realism to our work, I think.

Amanda said...

My writer's notebook is a safe place to brainstorm without commitment. When I write the words in my WIP I instantly become more committed and attached.

Angie said...

Good ideas! I can't believe how many great ideas I have forgotten because I didn't write them down.

ali said...

That is awesome advice Nichole. Now that I have my iPhone I find I write a lot more down than I did--it's just so handy and ALWAYS with me. I often record voice memos on blog or writing ideas while I write. I love it! ♥

Nichole Giles said...

I agree, Tess. Journals and notebooks are da bomb!

Good point, Amanda. I'm not quite as attached to what I write in my notebook either. I hadn't really thought of it that way.

Angie, I'm with you. I've forgotten more stuff than I ever want to admit. I won't even try to figure out what kind of awesome storylines and twists I've missed out on due to my lack of paper and pen.

Ali, amen! Whoever invented the iPhone voice recorder ap is a genius.

Natalie said...

So true! I can't tell you how many times I've had a great idea and thought, "I need to remember this!" and then forgot it an hour later. Writing stuff down is the only way to save it.

Melissa said...


I KNEW you were the one who should have talked about writing things down during my lesson on Sunday. There is no better expert on the subject than you! You said it so much better than I ever could have.

I love your blog---it's one of my favorites.