How Writers Prepare for Ideas

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld talked in an interview about the importance of keeping a notepad by his bed. Either before falling asleep or when waking in the middle of the night, he sometimes thought of a great line for his comedy routine. If he didn’t write the idea down immediately, he’d lose it.

Seinfeld’s lessons left a mark, as I make a point of having a ready supply of sticky notes and pens around the house and in the car. I have often pulled off the road to jot down an idea, and when I forgot to leave my notepad by the bed, I’ve jumped out of it in the middle of the night for the sake of capturing an idea.

Sometimes you won’t know if the idea is worthwhile until a few days later. Perhaps it would have been better in some cases to opt for the extra sleep. However, writers are in the idea business and something as insignificant as a pen or a piece of paper should not stand in the way of sharing a good idea with others.