Quick Tip: Keep a Notebook By the Bed

Okay, you are perhaps thinking to yourself, “This is the sage advice The Daily Post is giving me? Keep a notebook…

Okay, you are perhaps thinking to yourself, “This is the sage advice The Daily Post is giving me? Keep a notebook by the bed?” Yes, we are, and for two reasons:

  1. Partly, it’s January 2 and we’re a little worse for the wear today. Cut us some slack.
  2. Mainly, because we know that only a tiny fraction of you actually do this, which means most of you are missing out on capturing some prime ideas.

Those moments just before you fall asleep (or just before you wake up) are rife with ideas — your brain is all loosey-goosey, and you make connections you’d never make during the bustle of the day. How many times has this happened to you?

  • You get into bed.
  • You have a Great Idea for a post that will go viral, transform the national discourse, get you a book deal, and possibly also solve the hunger crisis.
  • You think, “I could get up and jot this down. But I’m tired, and surely an idea this momentous will not disintegrate into the ether of sleep.”
  • You sleep. The idea disintegrates.
  • You wake up, think “Dang,” and write a post about why the Homeland finale was so awesome.
  • The national discourse remains unchanged.

Now, I’m not saying that the world doesn’t want to know your opinons on Homeland. Maybe your Great Idea is Homeland-related. But if you’d had that notebook by the bed, you could be planning your book tour right now; at the very least, we could all be having a good chuckle.

What are you waiting for? You don’t even need a fancy little notebook — any scrap of paper will do. Don’t let the next Great Idea float away in the sea of dreams!

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    1. I did exactly that same thing… but then Siri literally changed my life (the voice-recognition software on the iPhone).

      Now my husband is used to me whispering into my phone in the middle of the night. Kind of funny, but it allows you to keep working in the same “note” and updates the version in your email… technology magic!!

    1. I keep my iPhone in the charger near my bed & write draft blogs in the WordPress app on my iPhone. So far, they have all remained drafts. They just don’t seem as brilliant & inspired in the cold, gray light of dawn. :-)

  1. Great idea. Two nights agi I dreamed an entire novel and even thought to myself that I should write it down as soon as I woke up. But I didn’t. And I don’t remember one single thing about it. (Which may be a blessing. It might not have been the Great American Novel I like to imagine it was.)

  2. I use the note feature on my phone so whether it is day or night my ideas are no longer lost in the clutter of my mind. I started this about a month ago, and is a great tool, some ideas are more of a standout than others, and I now have a daily prompt with a headstart.

  3. I keep a notebook by the bed, one my desk and several in my bag. I have trouble finding pens that work, though!

    And even with all that, I still write on envelopes and receipts!

  4. I love this idea! Whenever I try to recount a dream or idea from the night before, it comes out wrong or I can’t remember important details. I have several notebooks lying around. I will definitely do this!

  5. Great idea! The notebook app helps me capture thoughts I have upon waking for posts that are in draft. To my amazement I was able to compose 2 poems recently which I probably would not have been able to do with ease had my iPad not been at my bedside!

    Another idea is to keep a note pad nearby to write things to remember when looking through your Reader like ideas for future posts, new blogsites to check out, etc.

  6. I have been told for years to keep a notebook by my bedside, but I never have. Not sure why…stubbornness? And yes, lots of ideas have slid through the veil of sleep into never-never-land. But I never thought they were earth shattering.

    The other night, in order to amuse myself before falling asleep, I began composing a poem with the rhythm of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It just kept on unfolding, the rhythm was perfect, the words were both witty and wise, and I was sure it was a Nobel Prize winner at the very least. I was in awe of my own work. And nary a notebook in sight. If I woke up enough to get one, I knew, from previous experience, that I would lose the whole thing. So I kept repeating it in my mind, but alas, not one word did I remember the next morning. This was a timely reminder :P

    1. That’s too bad! So many people would have loved your poem! I never got so many hits on my blog until I reposted 2 versions of that old classic, especially the beautiful, but sad ‘Twas 11 days before Christmas” about the Conn. school children who were murdered. Folks are still reading it! I don’t recall the author’s name, but if you can’t find it check here:

  7. What sucks is having this great idea that you know you’ll lose if you don’t write it down, but you’re so warm and snug under the covers that you don’t even want to reach for the notebook that’s right there!

    Also: Handy Tip… the notebook works great on spiders.

  8. The pen and notebook idea looks great on paper (sorry, couldn’t resist), but it just doesn’t work for me.

    My home is inhabitied by small children who live to take pieces of paper and turn thim into several small pieces of paper, things have a tendency of getting misplaced in a stack of crap, and my handwriting is barely legible when I’m wide awake – let alone when I’m very tired. Therefore, I’m a big believer in the use of technology for jotting notes.

    I use Microsoft’s OneNote, which is cloud-based and tied to my laptop, smartphone, and work PC. When that brilliant idea strikes, I can pull up my “blog ideas” notebook and type in whatever I want.

    One of most read posts started as an idea that came to me while driving, and was quickly stored in OneNote (from the safety of a parking lot, of course) before it could fly out of my brain. I strongly encourage using whatever note program/app works best for you.

  9. I keep a small Mead(R) FiveStar(R) bright-colored notebook on my night stand. The bright color catches my eye as I retire. It reminds me of the importance of the process as well as the final product. So as I drift off to sleep I open myself up to awareness, to the gift of the idea, to being a channel for my Supreme Being, my Muse. Placing myself into that mode (the present, the here and now) makes me aware that I am a writer and that writing/preparation is critical to all parts of my life and thus steers me away from concerning myself with the past events of that day or the possible events of the next. It works. Not all the time (sort of like dating), but sometimes you get lucky and that, my fellow writers, makes all the dating worth while. Score!

  10. This is such a good idea, i normally have ideas that i wish i had jotted down, but the fact that i don’t keep a notebook by my bedside, I missed out on a whole lot. I will try to work on that this year.

  11. This is so true! I’ve also developed the habit of using the “Notes” feature on my BlackBerry to jot down blog ideas as they come to me, a sentence or two that I’ve worked out in my head and don’t want to forget etc. It’s been invaluable and it’s with me wherever I go! When ideas pop into my head, I’ve even thought of using the “Voice Recording” feature as well — sometimes there’s no time to type or write before it disappears into the ether! LOL!

  12. I mostly record the ideas instantly on my phone recorder.This way I make sure the world doesnt loose on to most genius of all works!!:p

  13. There are so many times I close my eyes to sleep and my mind turns on. Sometimes I get up and write. I have to. Other times sleep comes. I always have my iPad next to my bed. I can jot down thoughts in the notes sction without having to turn on the light.

  14. I keep one on the bed. It seems that some of my best inspirations come when I am in some stage or other of a migraine. Gotta’ write it down:)

  15. This is a great reminder. I keep a little Rhodia notepad by my bed (really nice paper), but usually I just put notes into the Evernote app on my cellphone. I almost always have my cellphone with me, and Evernote will sync the notes to all my devices. It’s also good for when I’m at work and I have a great blog-related idea. I can drop it into Evernote, and then get back to work, and copy my notes into WordPress later. I definitely get my best ideas at the oddest moments (and not when I’m trying to write).

  16. I buy hard bound journals at the dollar store. In fact, I am addicted tot hem and keep them everywhere. The living room, the kitchen, the bathroom (better than a joke book), in my car, at my desk, and yes there is also one by my bed. You NEVER know when a great idea or phrase will come to mind. I often suddenly think of titles or phrases and even though I may not write from them instantly, I do write about them eventually. Good advice DP :)

  17. My iPhone serves that purpose. I keep it at my bedside and many bedtimes have been postponed while I stayed up tapping away. I plug it in to the charger at night so by morning my phone is charged up.

    Have to remember to disconnect the cord in the morning when I want to jot down those first few thoughts of the day. I’ve had a few episodes where I’ve tried to grab my phone off the night stand in the morning, while trying to maximize the amount of my body that remains warm under covers – and had the charger cable suddenly yanked off the phone. That can’t be too good for the charger.

  18. I agree, I’ve lost many great ideas for all sorts of things in the middle of the night. I have plenty of scrap paper, just need to get a mini torch so I don’t loose the ideas while my eyes adjust from the blinding over head light :)

  19. good idea, Have started doing this, who knows what ideas and connections you can make while in bed. If only I had a water proof book for in the shower now :-)

  20. I had this very conversation with my daughter the other day. I told her I get all my best ideas when I’m almost asleep. She told me to ge ta notebook by the bed. Deja vu!

  21. This is certainly a sage idea, but I most likely would not be able to keep a pen or pencil handy. I have so many ideas that it would require a forest on my hip to capture them all. By letting them bounce around between my ears i am able to filter out some of the dead-end ones.

  22. Yes, I should go do this right now. I have known I should for a long time…but then put it off, and ideas really do right when you get in bed and are too lazy to get up again. Okay…gotta go get that notebook now.

  23. something i do nightly-and when I get ready to write down my ideas and thoughts, I always end up needing both sides of the paper. And i’ve checked myself when I wake up to see if I remember what I had written-and I never do. I’m always reading what I had written and saying to myself-oh, that’s excellent-yes, I will add that-or,as the case may be-yes, i’d better edit that out. my book would read better(my scifi):)

  24. Haha. This has happened to me so many times… “I’ll remember it in the morning…” and usually forget. Sometimes I DO remember but it doesn’t seem as good of an idea as when I was half asleep. :D

  25. Yep, that’s happened to me sooo many times. I get an idea for a post and then it evaporates by the time I wake up! I am definitely going to dig out a blank notebook from my desk; it will help me write more. Thanks for the reminder.

  26. Doing this one for years now, and it really works!! Glad you made a post about it, more ppl should think about that little & simple but oh so useful trick :D