Creator Confessions: Never Recreate A Lost Moment

by Frank Martin

One of the most difficult things for a writer is wrangling inspiration. In truth, there is no controlling it. Inspiration can strike at any moment. Unfortunately, it’s often at the moments we least expect it or are the most unprepared for it. Writers sometimes frantically search for a computer, a pen and paper, or anything to get the ideas down before they leave their minds and float away with the wind. But something writers will never tell you is the folly in attempting to recreate those lost moments. It might be frustrating to come up with a grand development in your story only to forget it moments later, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that those developments and ideas are never as good the second time around. You can try as hard as you want to recreate that spark you felt when the idea first popped into your head, but it will never be as strong.

The best thing you can do as a writer is to simply minimize those moments. The worst thing you can do is simply say, “I’ll remember to write that down later.” You won’t. You’ll try to remember as hard as you can, but it will never be the same. Instead, find ways to get those ideas down while they are still in your brain. It’s taken me years to figure out an approach to make this happen. One such innovation is to have a waterproof notepad in the shower. This might seem odd, but so many good ideas come when the mind is adrift and alone. You could be shampooing and promise yourself that you’ll write the idea down as soon as you get out and dry off, but by then it’s too late. Write it down in the moment and capture it while it’s still there.

But, as I said before, don’t try to recreate it. Once that idea is gone, it is gone. It might be heartbreaking, but you have to let it go. The trick is to not hang on to that one great idea. Because as a writer, you are never just one idea. You are many ideas that are constantly coming and going. Have faith that something just as good or maybe even better will pop into your head. Constantly look towards the future of your writing and never in the past. Only then can you be excited about the stories you craft and the ideas you come up with along the way. Just be sure that you’re ready for them when they arrive.

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