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 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. 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


  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.