October 30, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Only recently have I realized how much time having a pen and paper with you at all times is worth. Ideas are so incredibly tenuous that I would venture to guess a good 98% of them are lost, and 100% of this loss is preventable.

Various examples of this fleeting behavior in my life recently include, most prominently,anything pertaining to the world of college application essays. No matter how excited I am about an idea as it first pops into my head while reading one of the many prompts, if I can not immediately write the inspiration down I lose first the idea, and more slowly, hope.  Each time I vow that “This will not happen again! I will write down my ideas instantly!”

Not true. Not only do I forget to write essay fragments down immediately, but the problem is spreading.
I now find letter-writing to be difficult, though it was not always so. By the time I finish writing the first sentence of my correspondence, my head is filled with ideas that roil and tumble and fly off into unexpected tangents and thoughts. Merely attempting to sort them out makes them fade, and it is while trying to hold them all in my head that I lose them. Trying to retrace the original train of thoughts merely brings me to its rusting wreckage. It is still recognizable as a train, but it in no way matches up with its former glory.

But these fickle ideas need not come in the form of essays and letters- they also play tricks with math homework.  The feeling of loss is, to say the least, irritating. This blog post fits the scheme I have just described perfectly: I began writing it yesterday, and today I have completely forgotten what my plan was. Ironic, no?



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  1. You used the word fickle and that’s great.
    This is very cute, I couldn’t find anything needing revising because I just really enjoyed reading it.

  2. Very nice little post. Very true as well, it happens to me all the time, in bed before falling asleep, during class, while running, and many other times as well. I always feel really excited when starting an essay and before I know it i am disapointed and cant remember why i was so excited becuase my ideas have all been lost. Heres to carrying a pen a paper everywhere!

  3. I defnitely can relate to losing my train of ideas. Because I have insomnia, I generate my ideas mostly at night while I’m trying to fall asleep. I try to keep a pencil and paper on my desk. I also use my French syllabus to jot down my ideas. I can usually recollect my ideas but they don’t seem as brilliant as when I eagerly jotted them down. As you said, the ideas have lost their glory.

  4. You obviously hit a nerve here, Isaure. I suspect many of us feel the same way. Even those times when I have kept a notebook handy, the idea often fades before I return to my jotted down notes.

    Still, there is something good about this. Writing is not really about inspiration but about work. Sometimes the best essay is the one you had to struggle with the most to get it to work. In that light, the kernel of the idea is teh most important. In working out what you want to say, you may lose some of the flash, but you may very well end up with a stronger, more effective piece.

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