J=Jotting and Jamming (Feb 11)

Every day you recognize things worth writing about. Don’t wait – jot them down.

On “Mitch All Together” comedian Mitch Hedberg said, “I sit at my hotel at night, I think of something that’s funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down.  Or if the pen is too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain’t funny.”

The glint of inspiration is ephemeral; it’s there, then gone.  Worse is how we sometimes treat it.  We question that flash.  Dissect it.  Like in the joke above, we convince ourselves that true inspiration isn’t worth the two seconds it takes to capture it.  Between laziness and self-doubt, we dis-believe.

So believe.  Believe in yourself.  Believe in your ideas.  Honor them – by jotting them down.

Technology helps us.  You don’t have to be Hemingway, jotting on a Moleskin.  An app like Evernote goes where you go.  So do voice notes. Post-Its and receipts and bar napkins work as well. You might call these flashes kindling for the fire or a spark in the darkness – whatever phrase resonates with you. It’s what has to be there to make fire. 

Say you have a spark that you suspect is a story.  Finish each sentence and ask yourself “what happens next?”  For the basics on this, take another look at IT HAS TO FLOW.

Always – write onward, from the five senses and the heart. 

Save the inevitable lust for results for later.  To begin, just flesh out the ideas. 

LEARN:  Write down five things you experience this week that inspired you. This can be either to do more or to be better.  Write this in a notebook, so . . .

USE: Buy a notebook (I just did before I wrote this).  Make the notebook a small one, one you can find it in a back pocket or nook of your bag.  Take five days and jot down any idea that could be of use. 


Published by robanderik

We are long-time writers and editors, now living in the Middle East. Our idea is to create a series of tips to help others improve their writing and editing skills. Think of it as a lesson plan for ESL learners that combines the practical with the aspirational.

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