On the Importance of Writing Things Down

Have you ever had that feeling, the feeling you have when you experience a moment of lucidity? A moment of tremendous clarity, when everything seems to make sense. When you are in harmony with the universe. When you have a vision into the cosmos, so to speak. A Light-bulb or a Eureka moment, if you will.

Well, as I was walking down the stairs just the other day, I experienced one of those. An idea came to me. Half formed, hazy, a bit rough around the edges, but an excellent idea (so I thought) nonetheless.

It was the plot for a short story.

So I made a note to myself, to act on it further, at a more convenient time. And I distinctly remember, that as I descended the couple of floors to the open spaces, I thought to myself, that this would rank somewhere right at the top if I were ever to make a list of all of my ideas for a story.

Now, my purpose for the aforementioned vertical displacement, and later, horizontal as well, from my initial position, was the fact that I had been sitting in front of my laptop – getting up only for subsistence – ever since I woke up in the morning, which in my mother’s opinion is self-destructive, lazy, and unhealthy. And that is how I found myself in the gardens in my colony. There was a breeze, slight, but cool, a welcome change from the stuffiness of the apartment. Darkness, not of the pitch-black kind, but more of the ones you have during the twilight hours. All in all, quite an agreeable setting I would say. So I plugged in my earphones and decided to listen to Hotel California followed by Stairway to Heaven, as one is apt to, in such circumstances.

Having done that I settled down on one of the granite benches, to build on the idea, maybe add a twist to the tale or something of that sort. So I created a new word document on my phone to make a draft or a general timeline of events, and started exercising the grey matter for inspiration on how best to begin the story. And that is where I encountered the first flaw in the plan. The fly in the ointment. The spider in the soup.

I couldn’t remember it. In a mere 20 minutes, maybe even faster, (who knows!), I had somehow managed to erase all evidence, something even master criminals fail to do, of what the original idea had been. I hadn’t the faintest, foggiest clue as to what it had been. The greatest blank in all of recorded history. Quite frankly, I couldn’t even remember what genre the story would have been from. Vlad the Impaler would have a better chance of remembering all his victims’ first names, than I had of recollecting my idea.

And that is why we need to write things down people!

We have those Light-bulb moments quite rarely. Maybe once a week, give or take. It’s an optimistic estimate, I would say. But only a fraction of them are actually implemented or acted upon. So when you compare the number of moments to the ones you carry out to fruition, you will see that the number of moments you have is relatively quite high.

So why does this apparent disparity exist?

The reason is ideas don’t stay for long. We assure ourselves that we will commit them to memory. But what we don’t realise at the time is that the memory is, unless you have trained yourself to create a memory palace, not all that reliable.

You don’t need to write this down. This is easy. You are going to remember this. How on earth would you ever forget such a simple thing?!

And poof, 20 minutes later, when you sit down on granite benches to actually act on the idea, all you get is a generated message.
“There is nothing stored at this location. Perhaps you have the wrong address. “

You’re left scratching your head, wondering as to how you could possibly have managed to forget something like that.

And that is why you should write things down, people!

Make a note. An actual note, not the kind you make to yourself in memory. We all know what happens to those. Or else you might find yourselves writing an article on the importance of writing things down, instead of the horror story about the snooping babysitter!

Wait, that’s it! Now I remember.

The Snooping Babysitter.

See, writing things down, can also lead to clearer thinking. Because when you write something down, you engage more senses in the thought process. When you write something, and you look at it, you use the visual part of your brain as well. And then, when you read whatever you have written aloud you use the audial part of your brain. And since you have written whatever it is you were supposed to remember, you don’t have to use essential neurons – which most of us are already short on, without wasting them in remembering pointless stuff – that could be better employed at working out the mysteries of the universe, or coming up with an appropriate comeback, the next time someone’s picking on you.

I should probably go write the story about that snooping baby sitter now. You guys focus on coming up with that comeback. So, ciao!

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