Peggy Bechko: The Writers’ Thoughts of the Moment

We've always preferred to bake our bacon, but what do we know?
We’ve always preferred to bake our bacon, but what do we know?

by Peggy Bechko

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

Pretty much the truth, right? I think Francis Bacon spoke his truth clearly.

How often have you sat in front of your computer or with pen in hand, sweat blood and come up with not a single idea to write about?

Conversely think about the times when you’ve been in the shower and wished you had a pen and paper, or when you were walking in the park with the dog and suddenly a great idea sprang into your head, or relaxing with a novel and have a totally unrelated idea come into your head – apparently all on its own?

I’m not saying you don’t have to work out and work through story ideas to put them in proper order to create a story, but the idea, the seed for that story as often as not will simply come to you in an unguarded moment rather than when you’re beating your head mercilessly against the wall squalling for something new and fresh to weave into a story.

We like to think we’re in control and can command our every thought. We’re wrong. Yes, we can call up ideas at times when we desire, but at others, we just sort of dangle out there in space awaiting those new and fresh thoughts that will lead to a killer script or novel. Staring at a blank wall or a blank computer screen.

That’s why I learned long ago that I agree with Francis Bacon. Write down the thoughts of the moment. Don’t tell yourself you’ll remember, you won’t. If a dazzling new idea for a story occurs to you somewhere (in the shower, in the back yard, while walking the dog, while baking a cake) make sure you have the means to make a note. Write it down. Send yourself a text or a voice mail. Write a note on your wrist.

Do something to nail it down and remember it, because those thoughts that come to you when you least expect them, the great ones that nearly make you jump out of your chair, are born in the moment and as Bacon said, they’re the most valuable.

It can be a hard lesson learned when that light bulb of an idea occurs and you convince yourself you’ll remember it only to discover later that you don’t. That the only thing you remember about it was it was a GREAT idea! Don’t put yourself in the position where you want to tear your hair out trying to remember or kick yourself because you’ve well and truly forgotten.

Listen to Bacon. He had it right.

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