I was watching “About Time” over the weekend, (which is a wonderful movie from the same director as “Love Actually”) and there’s a great scene where Tim (the protagonist) meets Harry (the curmudgeony playwrite) and when Harry opens the door, instead of a greeting, Tim gets chewed out.
Because Harry the playwrite had the motherlode of all ideas in his head for a play or a scene and Tim interrupted his train of thought by knocking on the door. And poof! There it went!
Welcome to my world.
I do my best to combat this. I learned a while ago to keep a small spiral notebook and pen by my bed for those late night moments of blazing inspiration that will certainly be gone by morning. I keep my phone at my side during my long-ish commute and have learned to use the microphone/notes feature and I verbally record ideas if I have them.
My biggest challenge is that I do a lot of my writing at home, after the day job is over, and being a single mother with kids – and a kid on the autism spectrum – that means I get my train of thought derailed constantly. It’s maddening.
But it’s also made me better. More focused. More inclined to jot that trailing bit of brilliance down before it poofs away or to hold a hand up and say “Shush! Give me one minute!” before I lose that wisp of sparkling story or section of spot-on dialogue. I’ve learned to fight for that darkened corner of my mind, and I’m getting better at it.
But still….sometimes it just goes poof. You gotta wonder how many phenomenal novels never saw the light of day because they went poof when somebody’s kid kicked a soccer ball into his sister’s face or a writer couldn’t find a pen to save her damn life.
Now there’s an idea….an author who’s cursed never to be able to write down that story….everytime she tries it just goes poof.
Except I don’t write horror stories. Usually.
And that is serious nightmare fodder.