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Writing tip: Keep a notebook by your bed

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Feb 14, 2017 5:35:49 AM


This morning I woke up and knew I'd come up with an idea for the book I'm currently writing, but I had no idea what it was. Absolutely none. Instead of fretting about the lost inspiration, however, I reached for the notebook in the drawer of my nightstand and read the following, which I had jotted down in sleepy chicken scratch sometime during the night:

  • At BK Flea: "So nothing for Derek then?" "No. Argh, **** it. I forgot to call him." "Has he called you?" "No."
  • Mention Daphne toast to Skylar

The above notes may look insignificant, but they are anything but. They resulted in additional scenes/conversations that added considerably to a side plot and the emotional growth of the main character. Both areas had been giving me trouble, but I'd been unable to figure out what to do about them. If I hadn't written down those ideas that came to me in the middle of the night, I would have come up with a solution eventually, but it sure was nice to have it right there in front of me. In my opinion the writing is often the easy part; it's coming up with what to write that is hard.

I've learned my lesson about the notebook thing. More than a few times I've woken up at 2 or 3 a.m. with an idea but no notebook nearby and thought, I'll remember it in the morning, then promptly fallen back asleep. How many times have I remembered those ideas? Zero. Now, no matter how tired I am, I force myself to reach for my pen and make a note when an idea strikes. Often that paper ends up in the recycling bin and I ask myself, what in God's name was I thinking, but just as often those flashes of creativity end up in the pages of a book. Better safe than sorry!

-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at

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Feb 27, 2017 6:37 PM Norman_Fledglings    says:

This was one piece of advice from my professors that I actually listened to. I started out small and developed the habit from there. It didn’t take long, but after a while I found that it became an interesting hobby of mine to try and transcribe my dreams from the notes that I had taken in the wee small hours. That’s a lot harder than it seems, because dreams are non-linear and when you apply intellect to subconscious thought there is too much conflicting information to bash into cohesion.




After a few years, you know what? It actually didn’t become necessary for me to use that little notebook. Somewhere along the way my brain made enough space in my memory that I could go a few days at a time and then have a mini writing session to put to paper the things I wanted to preserve. Sometimes those things got forgotten, but when you have a thought that you want to keep, your mind keeps niggling away at you until the lost gem resurfaces.




I still use this technique to flesh out my stories, but it also helps in everyday activities. Using that notebook was a memory enhancing technique, and it has helped me in other aspects of my life as well: family budget, order processing at work, verbatim recollections of domestic disputes (OK, maybe that last one isn’t very helpful).




Interesting fact: once I solved a mathematical algorithm I had been working on. That in itself isn’t too far out of the ordinary, because that’s the purpose of mathematics and education. What was interesting in this particular case was that I came up with the solution in my sleep, and when I woke I wrote down the formula and after testing it I discovered that it worked without needing any alteration. Weird but true! To this day I am convinced that somehow my little notebook from thirty years ago has partially helped in bridging the gap between asleep and awake, and if you don’t believe that I’m telling the truth then that’s understandable because I wouldn’t believe you either if you made such a preposterous claim.



Mar 5, 2017 3:03 PM mamaofbrie    says:

Hi.  I'm new. You are exactly right.  All the professionals say do this.  I did it after my son was murdered by gang members, and in the middle of the night while mourning, I wrote a song about the tragedies that our young men face everyday, and that we as mothers need to do more to save them because with out the next generation where is the world headed!  Extincition?

That song I put in my first book, Chained to Love.  The dark side of Slavery, released on KDP, and now it's soon to be released on CreateSpace.  Once I started writing I can't stop.  So everyone should keep a pencil and paper by their bed; especially if they are experiencing loss of one kind or another.  Find me at

Mar 24, 2018 12:26 AM naveenkuamr    says in response to mamaofbrie:

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