How often has this happened to you? You’ve had a long day at work or dealing with your kids or whatever, and you snuggle down into your blankets, and just as your about to drift off to sleep your brain finally figures out the last puzzle piece that ties your novel together. Do you assume that the idea is so profound you’ll clearly remember it in the morning, or do you get up, find some paper and a pen, and make a quick note?
I used to get a lot of story ideas as I was falling asleep or I’d wake up in the middle of the night from a dream that – in my sleep addled state – I thought would make a great story. For a while I’d grab a notepad I kept by my bed and – in the dark – make marks on the page which I’d hopefully be able to read in the morning. Sometimes that worked, sometimes it didn’t. But sometimes it worked not because I was able to read what I had written, but because it would remind me that I had had an idea, and that would cause me to remember it. So I simplified matters and started using a Memory Sock. This was just an old sock I’d leave lying next to my bed. If I had an idea, I’d just reach down, feel around on the floor until I found the sock, and just toss it towards the middle of the room. The next morning I’d get up, find the sock in the middle of the room and that, usually, would jog the memory of the idea. This whole idea is to use something out of place to force you to remember something. My current version of the “Memory Sock” is to take the TV remote that is on the stand next to my bed and just set it on the floor.
The Memory Sock may not work for you, and you may lose an idea for the next, great, American novel, but by not overly disturbing your rest you may get a more restful sleep. And some days, it’s a tough call and which you’d want more.
Image from Pixabay.