Stephen King advises authors not to keep a notebook of story ideas. He has said:
“I think keeping a notebook is the best way to immortalize bad ideas.”
The reason is that a good idea will stick with you. You won’t need to write it down to remember it.
In her Masterclass on writing Judy Blume says authors should keep a notebook of ideas.
The interesting thing is, though, that she never wrote a book with any of these ideas. The reason to keep an idea notebook from her perspective is to give you the security that you will never run out of ideas.
This also reminds me of something Ray Bradbury said about his book, The Martian Chronicles. When he first read Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, he had the idea of writing a similar book that took place on Mars. He wrote down the idea in a notebook but didn’t think much about it for a long time.
Years later he started writing short stories about Mars. When he met with an editor about turning those stories into a book, he suddenly remembered that idea of writing a Winesburg, Ohio story on Mars and realized he had done it.
Here’s what I think:
The good ideas will stick with you.
Keep an idea notebook to give yourself a creative outlet for the idea if you want, but the really good ideas will stick with you. You will be compelled to write them.
You will get to the point that your mind won’t let you not write that book or story regardless of whether it is one of your written-down story ideas or not.