I Remember Forgetting


taking_notes I’ve had some really cool dreams over the last several days. Engaging, enthralling, emotive and evocative. Problem is I can’t remember a single one; not one.

I should write them down when I wake up. As soon as I do, though, they begin to jumble and cloud over, lose detail. By the time I actually heft my considerable a$$ out of bed, they’re mostly gone. Only impressions remain, and that’s not anything I can work with, usually. Poof! Good story ideas, gone into the aether.

I have bad eyes too, so rolling over while in bed to jot them into a notepad is out of the question. My solution is a digital recorder, but right now there’s no money for that stuff. I have to wait until the employment fairy visits me again. I wish she’d hurry up; stupid b1tch is killin’ me, pardon my French.

I’ve lost blog posts this way too. I get really good ideas for blogging at extremely inconvenient times. If I had a digital recorder I could just slap ‘em in there and have ‘em to transcribe later. But no. I’m still broke, I’m still losing ideas, and I’m still a little miffed that a memory which has been so faithful to me for so long – and in fact can remember details of books I read in the early 80s and movies I’ve seen as a child – fails me when it comes to something about which I’m so passionate (writing and blogging … yeah, blogging, okay? I admit it).

How do you guys go about keeping track of your ideas? Maybe you’re one of those who just sits down to type it out. Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t have a problem remembering their good ideas when they strike you. Or maybe you do some jotting, note-taking, recording or something to keep them all at your fingertips.

Whatever your solution, I’m interested in hearing about it. Mine certainly isn’t working. Care to share?

-JDT-

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16 thoughts on “I Remember Forgetting

  1. I bought a voice tape recorder some time ago for exactly this purpose – and I haven’t used it at all. Listening to my squeaky voice on tape kills all enthusiasm I might have for the idea itself.

    LOL! Well, that’s a problem I’ll have too! I HATE the sound of my own voice, ESPECIALLY on a recording. It’s so DIFFERENT than I think I sound. Heh.

    I keep pen and paper at all possible (and some impossible) locations, so I don’t have to remember an idea for longer than maybe a quarter of an hour. One very stable notebook is currently suffering in my handbag, and I must have about half a dozen ballpoint pens down there, as well.

    Yeah, this is the most common method. It won’t work for me, though. 😦

    My biggest problem with this whole business is keeping track of ideas, organizing them and picking those that might actually work out from all the other rubbish. Lots of piles with notes, called “possibly great”, “not so great”, “don’t work”, “don’t work (but I like them nevertheless)” and so on. (^v^)

    Well, another commenter said they don’t bother organizing them; just toss them into a pocket file and sift through them once in a while. Maybe that will work for you too? Thanks for stopping by, Diandra, and for sharing what works for you!

  2. I write on scraps of paper or on the back of my hand.

    Both good ideas, but I can’t SEE to WRITE when I first wake up…gotta get THAT handled first. 😦

    • I don’t know if he still does, but back in the early 60s, Keith Richards kept a tape recorder by his bed.
      One night, he woke up abruptly with an idea for a song in his mind. He recorded the idea on the tape recorder then immediately fell asleep.
      The next morning, Keith listened to the tape. What he heard was the riff for Satisfaction followed by snoring.
      Satisfaction would go on to become one of the biggest hits of all time.

      You know, I’ve heard this before. Good case for the digital recorder by the bedside. Thanks!

  3. Before I forget, let me tell you that I appreciate your earlier posting time, and the ability to read the full post in my reader. Even though I always come here to comment, for some reason I like reading in the reader.

    You’re welcome on the full post in the reader. Know why I did it? Because it pisses me off when I get only the partial in MY reader. And I forgot I had mine set that way until I saw Fal change HERS. As for the time — they’re not earlier, sweetie. I post ’em at 7:30 a.m. CT US, every post. Unless I don’t write it until later, that is. So I have no explanation for that. 🙂

    I have lots of dreams, as you know. My method for remembering them seems to increase my ability to get them on paper before they’re completely gone. First off, as soon as I wake from the dream, I go through it again, spend a few seconds on it. If I do that, it’s more likely to stick with me till I get everybody off to work and school–about an hour.

    I TRY to go through it again, but I’m not joking when I say as soon as I become conscious it’s vaporizing. I’ll give this another try though.

    Then, when I write it down, I start with random details. If I start with the “story,” it seems to dissipate, but if I start with one-word impressions, I’m able to segue into the story more firmly.

    Maybe that’s the key; just capture the essence and let memory do the rest. Hm. I can give it shot.

    I do fear my waking impressions are being superimposed on the dream with this method, but I guess that is a negligible problem.

    Well, if it is a problem you won’t know anyway. Your waking impressions will just become part of what you remember dreaming, and how do you remember what you forgot anyway? 🙂 Thanks hon!

    • For some reason the post would show up at 8 a.m. every single day, and I would wait for it. This week they started showing up 7:30, 7:45, right when I’m ready. Hm, must be a Google thing.

      Yeppers, gotta be. And Fal has no idea why hers don’t show up, sometimes for hours, when she schedules her for the same time everyday too. Weird, ne?

  4. Since most of my stories come from dreams, memories, and impressions . . . I’m a jotter. I never go anywhere without a notebook and pen. There’s a journal by my bed and index cards or sticky notes throughout the house. Next to my computer is the “tickler” file of all these scraps and tidbits — just a plastic slash pocket filled with fluff. When I’m searching for new story ideas, I sift thru the “fluff” and something usually screams to be written. My eyes are bad too . . . so those night time dreams and memories sometimes need to be deciphered unless I wrote them really big!

    Yeah, the jotting thing isn’t promising; I know it’s important but I just don’t think it’ll work for me. 😦

    I don’t think the recorder would work for me, I’d probably forget where I left it!

    Ha! Good point!

    Good luck!

    Thanks, and thank you for sharing your method too!

  5. I agree with Sherri, stop and play it through again before you get out of bed. I’m a huge fan of paper by the bed. What if you leave your glasses by the notepad? My notes are generally simple sentences or keywords. Sometimes I wake up with an entire outline or poem. That’s when I end up giving in and just climbing out of bed to type things up. My muse keeps the oddest hours.

    I have the glasses by the bed, but (and this is going to sound really bad, and maybe it is) I can’t see even WITH the glasses in the middle of the night. Seriously, it’s tough. I can try it though. I have to try SOMETHING, right? And my muse keeps funny times too. It comes around most when I have other, more important things to do. I’ve never been so inspired as I was last time I held a job…DURING WORKING HOURS, no less!

    Thanks for sounding off and sharing your method, Jaymie!

  6. I have the same tendency to forget anything I dream about rather quickly. However the other night I dreamed there was a massive tornado approaching me and several others, and we had to enter a building with the type of glass doors with the long pull handles … the tornado was huge and encompassed the entire building … things were going through my mind during the dream …

    Eep. Yeah, a lot would’ve been going through MY mind during a dream like that too. Probably the door handles.

    anyway, I’m kinda glad I just have a political blog, (it doesn’t take alot of imagination for that stuff) and I can come to you and Ness and Jaymie and Sara, among others for the good stuff. 🙂

    Well, I’m glad you like what you find here, Steve, and I’m glad you’re here. 🙂

  7. I am usually pretty good at remembering dreams. I still remember last night’s dream… man that was much better than the nightmares I use to have!! 😉

    Yeah, I don’t seem to struggle with remembering nightmares as much. Go figure. And on the rare occasions when I’ve had night TERRORS, well … those I guess you NEVER forget. 🙂

  8. Replaying the dream the instant you awake and jotting down keywords, at least, seems to work best for me too. I make notes on anything handy whenever a thought occurs to me too … and leave voice messages and notes on my cell too.

    Now that’s interesting. I have no idea how to leave myself a voice message. Do I just call my own phone number? That might substitute for a digital recorder. Hm.

    During a two year span of my adult life, I had a beautiful correspondence with my subconscious and could remember all the details of two or three dreams in one night. I kept a dream diary. For the most part, as I’ve gotten older, I dream less, or remember them less. But here’s how I look at that, if I’m meant to remember the dream, I will. If I don’t remember it, I figure it was just my subconscious working out something I’m not ready for yet. Dreams are, after all, just a conversation with yourself.

    Most are. I’ve had some that I knew were more than that though. My wife ROUTINELY has dreams that are more than just conversations with herself. But I agree: a cigar, sometimes, is just a cigar, no matter WHAT Sigmund Freud says. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Linda!

    • Oh, yes, you’re right … they are more a direct message from “outside.” But I always remember those archetypal dreams.

      Does your phone have a memo capability?

      Y’know, I’m not sure. I should check. That’s a VERY viable solution. I’ll look into it. Thanks, Linda! 😀

  9. Your cell phone has a record feature Love, for self-memos and stuff like that. I don’t know if there’s a time limit on it, but I can find out. And I can show you how to make the record button a priority one, but it would remove the bluetooth button. Just an FYI.

    Thanks, babe!

    . . . There’s a bluetooth button? o_O

  10. You probably have a voice memo option on your cell phone. That’s what I use then I cringe when I hear it playback.

    I’ve been having vivid dreams too lately. They seem to all be about places. I don’t know what’s up with that.

    Your mind’s trying to tell you something. I wonder what it is. And yes, the phone has the memo thingy; problem is my eyesight. I don’t think I’ll be able to find it in the night with my sight the way it is. Oh well. Still a good idea. 🙂

  11. I use my Palm phone for almost all my writing. It has web access and a word processor so whenever an idea hits me I just start typing. I would also recommend working on your dreaming. Lucid dreaming is a skill believe it or not. try a book called “The Art of Dreaming” by Carlos Castaneda. You would be surprised at what you can discover in your head.

    Thanks Jamie. I’ll see if I can find the book at the library. And thanks for stopping by to comment. 🙂

  12. Johns Hopkins hospital did a sleep apnea study a few years back and one of the things they came up with is that people dont actually dream what they think they do. Its more of imagination from a deep relaxing sleep. You subconsciously think about it during the previous day and you mind takes over…..hmmph….you should carry something around so you can write it down..never know maybe thats your next novel right there…zman sends

    I think I heard about that study. Thanks Steve. 🙂

  13. If I write ideas down, I lose the piece of paper. If I can, I make a stickie note on my laptop. Those little electronic post-its I can’t lose. But most of the time I remember the idea or I don’t. I try to convince myself that a really great idea will come back to me–maybe I just don’t remember having the idea before. ha. Or maybe the idea wasn’t as good as I thought. Sigh.

    If you find out a method that works, let me know.

    Will do, but don’t hold your breath. 😉

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