Have you ever had a brilliant idea, but when it came time to write it down couldn’t remember what it was? I had that happen recently. It was coming up for my turn to write a blog post for the Writing Center, and I came up with something that I thought would be a great idea to talk about, but for whatever reason: no pencil, no paper, or more likely, pure procrastination and the arrogance to think, “I won’t forget,” I didn’t write it down, and then it was gone. I tried to blame age—I’ve heard as you get closer to 40 your memory starts to go…Now who was it that said that? Hmmm. Anyway, the truth is, great ideas that pop into our head aren’t likely to be stored in our long term memory, regardless of age. They are fleeting little birds that tweet in our ears, and if we aren’t quick to catch them and record them in some way, they fly off to tweet in someone else’s ear—at least that’s my bird theory, which I probably heard from someone else, but again, I can’t remember.
The funny thing is, even though I still don’t recall what that brilliant idea was, it prompted an even better one, the title of this blog. It came about when I was talking with a friend, and he asked me what I was going to blog about, and that’s when I realized, I’d lost my bird. I couldn’t remember my idea, but I could remember that I was excited about it. Irked, I stewed for a moment trying to recall what it was when it hit me that maybe an even better idea was to blog about lost ideas. Bingo! I had a new idea to work with, and this time, I captured my wily, little chirping bird, and put him on paper. I realized there are two great lessons about writing to be learned here. First, if you get a great idea, write it down as soon as possible, and jot down any other ideas that may come with it. However, the second is, if you do find yourself with a runaway bird; don’t get too discouraged because it may prompt something else even better. Part of the fun of writing is the excitement of exploring new possibilities, and sometimes they happen as a result of lost ideas or even wrong turns.