The Prompter Room

For Monday, October 26, 2015:

“Write down the thoughts of the moment.  Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.”

Francis Bacon

Writers know they have to keep some form of paper, a notebook or journal, or — nowadays, anyway — an electronic device with them at all times so they can capture those fleeting thoughts, ideas, inspiration, even a single word or phrase.  If I have an unfinished work, sometimes years old, I hold it aside as I wait for the piece that’s missing.  When that perfect thought finally comes, I know just the piece it belongs to.  (Finding it, though, is sometimes a different story …)

I’ve learned I can’t work too hard for that perfect fit.  The valuable thoughts and ideas are most often those that come when I’m doing something else, usually physical, and my brain isn’t focused on words.  As Agatha Christie says, “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”  (Especially if there’s a window, at least for me, because I like to watch the birds as I do the dishes.)  If it’s not a book, then it’s the way to start the next chapter, or a title, or how to make that pivotal plot arc work.

There is, then, a good reason to just stare out the window for a little while.  Give yourself that permission — and be sure to keep paper and pen nearby.

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