The Mind-Keyboard Disconnect

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I “write” all the time in my mind.  Any time I find myself in a mentally passive state, I start composing in my head – phrases, sentences, paragraphs, essays.  These “written” pieces are anything from re-imagining how a previous conversation could, or should, have gone – very George Costanza-esque thinking of a great comeback hours too late – to character sketches, to pieces of the stories I wish to write, to rambling musings on any given topic.  Most frequently these mental writing sessions occur in a place and time not conducive to stopping whatever I am doing and jotting it all down, like when I am driving or before I fall asleep in bed.  By the time I find myself in a position to actually record my thoughts (such as now), the meat of the though is there, but much of the detail is gone.  In fact, this very (admittedly mundane) topic wrote itself in my head last night.  Please believe when I say that this is not translating exactly as I heard it in my mind.  Often, I wish I could just jack into my brain (a la The Matrix) and directly download my mental data to the computer.

So, it has occurred to me that I need to adopt some technique or habit to help me capture these thoughts and ideas before they are lost to me.

The most obvious answer is to get to a computer to get it all out as soon as I can.  However, this is probably the least practical, given the time when I have the most brainstorms.  Assuming  I could get before a computer every time I needed, I find that I think so much faster than I can possibly type.  Even if I were to type fast and furiously, ignoring typos as I go (which I find nearly impossible to do), thoughts fly by at such a pace that I’m on to the next one before I can get three words onto the page.  In fact, I often feel like the typing is so intrusive that it actually changes the way I am thinking as I write.

The next option would be to carry around a pen and notebook, or to leave numerous ones scattered about the house, and in the car, and so on.  Neither scenario is particularly practical since 1) I have a very curious toddler, who is quite fond of paper and pencils and 2) I rarely carry any kind of purse or bag (with the exception of a diaper bag when needed) so I’d have to carry said notebook in my hands or pocket all the time or start carrying a purse – which seems silly if the only thing in it is a notebook.  I doubt my husband would appreciate me flipping on the lights and frantically scribbling down my thoughts while he tried to sleep.

Thus, I am toying with the idea of keeping a voice recorder on hand (I know, the no-purse issue is not really resolved by this, nor is the inquisitive two-year old; however, it seems like it would be easier to keep one recorder accessible and still out of harm’s way than a slew of notebooks) and then transcribing my audio-notes later.  So here are the draw-backs to this option, as I see them.

First, I am not even sure that I can speak as fast as I can think – and, a natural-born talker, I can speak pretty quickly.  Certainly it will be faster than typing, but I wonder if it will be fast enough to keep me from losing the thoughts.  Probably not.  I also wonder if it will be equally, or even more, intrusive to the thought process than typing.

Second, dictating my thoughts while driving seems easy enough; however, I am going to have to find a place to do so quietly when the pre-sleep and middle-of-the-night thoughts start seeping in.  So this is going to require some behavioral modification on my part.  I’m going to have to get out of bed – in which case, I could just plop in front of the computer and skip the two-part process.   (That brings me back to the first problem, of not typing as fast as I need.)

Third, and candidly, I think this might be the biggest issue in my mind, I hate the sound of my recorded voice.  (Though, I won’t deny that I do, on occasion, enjoy listening to myself talk.)  Whenever I hear a recording of myself I shudder and think, “Do I really sound like that?”  I know I am not alone in this situation, but I really do hate it.  Will I be able to sit and listen to my recorded voice daily or weekly?  I’m sure I will get over it, and I know this is a silly thought with which to concern myself, but there it is nonetheless.

Ultimately, I think I have no choice but to deal with it, since as I write and re-read this, I know that there were some gems last night that have gone off into the ether, never to grace my page.