Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk, and I thought of a great topic to write about today. Then I got distracted, and for the life of me, I can no longer remember what I had wanted to write about. I guess it must not have been such a “great” topic after all. I was the only person at work yesterday afternoon, so I had plenty of time to think considering that I nothing much else to do. I should have written it down as soon as I thought about it so I’d have a reminder, it for whatever reason, I didn’t do that. I often write things down or email a note to myself as a way to remind me of my thoughts. I hate thinking of something and then forgetting it because I didn’t make a note of it.
Back when I was writing my dissertation, I’d lay down to go to sleep and think of the research and reading I’d done that day and some of what I had written, and sometimes in that process, I’d have a brainstorm or I’d think of a particular sentence I’d like to add. The first few times that happened, I’d think to myself that I’ll remember that in the morning. Then, when the morning came, I’d have forgotten all about my thoughts the previous night. From then on, I’d keep my laptop or a notebook beside my bed, so when inspiration struck, I’d immediately write it down. When I’d get up the next morning, there it would be waiting to remind me of what I wanted to incorporate into my dissertation.
Another good reason that I took notes late at night or even when I send emails to myself with my notes is that sometimes I realize the next day that it really wasn’t that great of an idea. Once I’d sleep on a topic or a note, I often rethink what I’d thought the night before. Sometimes those ideas just got discarded, but other times I’d be able to improve upon my earlier brainstorm. Just because you have a “great” idea one minute doesn’t mean that it is actually a great idea a few minutes or hours later. Whatever I decided to do with whatever notations I’d made, was a great experience for editing my work, even before I’d written it.