The Squeak in the Bed

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

March 7th, 2010

This is just the passing-on of some wisdom I’ve learned in 43 years: It’s worthwhile to keep a pad, notebook, or, in my case, PDA (Palm Treo) close to your bed. Some of the best ideas come at night.

I love the time when I’m just waking and my mind drifts between dreams and daytime. Something about the freedom, unshackled from the “processing” that we do the rest of the day, allows me to be at my most creative. I often work out a plot line in a story I’m writing, or I work out a solution to a personal issue that’s been bothering me, or I simply enjoy the feeling of whatever dream I was having.

But to help enable that free thought, I need a helper. The PDA. I keep it right there charging on my nightstand. And it’s there, like a notepad, when I have an idea that I want to remember.

Sometimes it’s the name of a character I want to add to a short story. Sometimes it’s a recount of a particularly powerful dream. And sometimes it’s a reminder to do something later that day.

Case in point: My bed developed an ANNOYING squeak about three months ago. It’s loud enough to wake me when I’m turning over in bed. I turn over, hear it, and think, “I need to figure out what’s causing that.” But then I fall back off to sleep and the next day I never think about it. Until the next time it wakes me from sleep.

Finally, last night, the squeak woke me — and I remembered to take a minute in the dark to light the PDA screen and make a quick note ‘fix bed sqeak’ for noon today — with an alarm to remind me. Sure enough, at 11:55 this morning, the reminder came up and I pulled the bed out. After three months, it took less than five minutes to fix it (the metal frame was scraping against the ceramic border at the base of the wall). I never would have remembered if I hadn’t had my Treo available to make the note. And that squeak would probably have been keeping me awake for another three months.

So whether it’s the idea for your next bestseller or simply a reminder to pick up dog food, I recommend everybody keep a notebook or PDA on the nightstand. Let it do the remembering…and leave your mind free to explore new unshackled places.

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