distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Why I Find Myself So Inanely Frustrating Ugh

I wrote down an idea months ago when I was in the midst of revision. It was for a new novel, and I told myself to just get it down and take a look later.

I revised. Revised again, and again. Did other things, got distracted, forgot.

But now I’ve remembered.

And I want to find that idea.

I thought I typed it up on my computer, but I can’t find it, no matter what keywords I search for on my hard drive.

I probably wrote it down in a notebook.

So I took out every notebook from the past year and skimmed through them.

I found, in no particular order:

  • 3 sticky love notes
  • A mix CD that I’d been wondering where it went
  • A henna recipe
  • My food shopping lists from my stay at the writers colony (cheese; triscuits; advil; cheese; triscuits; advil, etc.)
  • Detailed scribbled notes from eavesdropping on an Amtrak train
  • Many of the lines you will find in Imaginary Girls, often thought of while walking the city streets and scrawled down while leaning on a fire hydrant or against a brick wall
  • The opening passage of my new novel, working title top secret—it came out in a big rush
  • Doodles of eyes, uncountable
  • A list—pages long—called “The Scary Moment When I Add Up My Word Count,” which I guess was me keeping track, chapter by chapter, of how far over my word count I was getting as I wrote Imaginary Girls (if you must know: 29,000)
  • Notes from a phone call with my agent that made me smile, as he always says the exact right thing to make me feel good and yet just the thing I need to hear
  • Notes from another phone call with someone else that, after I hung up, made me cry
  • An email address from someone I met at an SCBWI talk, I think? Who are you?
  • A list of possible new titles for Imaginary Girls; the favorite joke title in my household being Floating Somewhere Pantsless—goes with the cover still, no? 😉
  • The important bill from the insurance company that I lost in August and went crazy looking for and eventually had to call and explain and I worked it out, but it was stressful at the time

But, after all that, and all those notebooks, I haven’t found the idea I was looking for. It’s possible I only imagined the act of writing it down.

Or, years from now, I’ll happen on it, scrawled in some random yet perfectly sensible place, and I’ll say, “There it is! I’ve been looking for that!”

, , , ,

8 responses to “Why I Find Myself So Inanely Frustrating Ugh”

  1. I frustrate myself for two reason: 1. I don’t always keep a pen and pad of paper handy next to the bed. 2. I often get ideas right before I fall asleep, but am too lazy to get up and search for pen/paper…so I convince myself I will definitely remember this idea the next day. I NEVER remember it. EVER. Yet I continue sabotaging myself.

    • I do the same… and I started keeping a notebook just for that purpose and pen on the shelf near the bed. It’s come in handy more than a few times! If you read this reply, go set one up now. You’ll thank yourself one night, I’m sure of it. 🙂

  2. That is so like my own notebook! I used to keep a notebook by my bed. Didn’t think I ever wrote in it. Then one day, I opened it, and found all of these “great ideas” I’d written down in the middle of the night, and never knew it!

    p.s. None of the ideas were good. There were quite a few about chicken nuggets.

    Hope you find your idea.

    • Heh. I love how ideas always seem “great” and brilliant, etc., at the moment of conception… and then in the light of day, not so much.

      I haven’t found the lost idea yet (though I have remembered a kernel of it). I’m still convinced it’s AWESOME. Maybe the memory of the idea is better than what I scrawled down… hm. I can build it back up again, I’m sure of it.

  3. i’ve been searching for more than twenty years for notes i took on a novel i was going to write that was going to have a bunch of elevator-related stories in them. i had great scribblings on about a dozen key scenes. alas, they appear to be trapped in an elevator somewhere, never to be seen again.

    • Oh no! I wish you could find those notes! (And now I can only be hopeful that it doesn’t take me twenty years to find mine…)

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: