Give Me A Dictaphone

Why is it the best ideas always come when it’s impossible to write them down?

In the past I used to take an MP3 player when I went running or to the gym. Like many people, I found something fast, with a good rhythm – and sometimes a dash of aggression – helped spur me on when otherwise I might have given up.

These days, for some reason, I seem to have fallen out of the habit of having a music player with me. Now when I go running, cycling or walking I find my mind wandering with no music on which to concentrate.

My ‘forebrain’ is busy with the basic stuff like where to put my feet and which way to turn, leaving the rest of my head free to go where it pleases. Sometimes the mental ramblings are inconsequential stuff about work/life/food etc. Quite often, though, I’m thinking about plot lines for my writing and inspiration seems to strike frequently enough to make the process quite productive. Many times, I can run through entire scenes – dialogue and all – in my head.

But I never have any paper or a pen with me! The trouble is, I know that I have good ideas for my stories and sometimes I remember them. My fear is that I can’t remember them all or in their entirety.

And if I don’t remember everything, what happens to my great ideas? Will all those neat solutions for plot twists that have been bothering me just evaporate and go back into the ether? Or will they re-emerge as ‘new’ ideas another day?

I think I’m going to have to get a Dictaphone. That way I might not lose so many ideas. Or do I need to learn some new memory techniques for recalling my thoughts?

Taking a Dictaphone out running might seem a bit odd. Once upon a time the locals might have thought me mad if they saw me running the local paths talking to myself, nowadays they’ll probably just think I’m some sad individual who can’t live without their mobile phone. (Not sure which scenario is worse.)


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