The lesson here: Just write it down.
My daughters Hannah and Sarita are budding authors, and this short essay by 13-year-old Sarita reflects what they wish to accomplish and how they intend to get there.
You Can Cook Another Omelet
a short essay sort of thingy about ideas
By Sarita Swerens
Just write down the idea.
When you detect that feeling, that inexplicable sense that you’re on the verge of becoming the author of a whole series of novels that no one has ever thought of, no one has ever read, no one has ever imagined in their deepest dreams, write it down.
When you feel the inspiration strike, wait for nothing and no one. Don’t post about your enthusiasm on Facebook or Tweet about your idea on Twitter. Don’t send a letter to your friend that you feel like writing; write. Don’t call all your friends on the telephone and shout that you’re about to get the most brilliant idea ever heard of on the face of the earth; write it down. If you have to dash out of the kitchen and let the toast burn or the roast combust or the egg-and-broccoli omelet smolder, then do it. If you have to tear through the house tipping over chairs and knocking your favorite purple coffee mug to the floor to hastily type down a fast-fading story idea from a dream about a song in a book you just heard about from a friend, then do it. You don’t have to use an online thesaurus, or dictionary, or rhyming dictionary, or rhyming thesaurus. You don’t have to spell pontification or serendipity or onomatopoeia or perspicacity correctly. Just write.
Don’t let the small things go. If a single sentence pops into your head that has a neat feel to it and makes you think, don’t leave it there. Don’t think, “Oh, I’ll write it down later, when I’m done with this English assignment,” because if you do, before you read two more paragraphs, the sentence will be a thing of the past; it will have faded away into the winding, cobwebby maze of ideas, stories, dreams, and fantasies that is your brain.
Even if it’s a single sentence, an entire story can be molded from it. A romance from an adjective. A villain from a noun. An ending from an adverb.
Even if it’s a single sentence, a tale of betrayal and faith and battle and love and hope against all odds can be woven into a rich, twisting story that is light and relief in this darkening world.
If it’s a dim, fading image from a dream that you just remembered you had a week ago, and it fills you with a desire to share your perception of the world with others, then write it down, even if it’s on a wrinkled piece of paper from an old history report that you just pulled out of the trash and scribbled on with a dull pencil from the junk drawer. Just write it down. Describe the feeling, the experience. Set your mind down on paper and trace it with ink. Scrawl down your scheme before it wanes and perishes and becomes an illusion of the idea you once had, the skeleton of a greater notion that can never be retrieved from the farthest reaches of you mind. Scribble down the inkling of better tales to come, before the passion dwindles and passes on into the inaccessible realm of lost stories. Just write it down.
Because if you write it down, it’ll be worth it later. If you write it down, then later you can correct your misspelled version of onomatopoeia. You can buy a new purple coffee mug. You can finish your English assignment. You can cook another omelet.
Because if you write down that idea and let it bloom, then later you can embellish it. A romance from an adjective. A villain from a noun. An ending from an adverb.