Ideas flit in and then quickly out of my head. Too frequently, I am unable to lure them back to mind. Like lovely snowflakes melting on a velvet-gloved hand, no amount of coaxing is able to revive them. They cannot be re-formed. Too many such snowflakes have been lost because I failed to appreciate their fleeting nature.
Anything fragile, if treated with nonchalance, can be destroyed. As a writer, if a tendency to forget threatens my productivity, it would be negligent of me to perpetuate that tendency. Only retained thoughts can be nurtured and shaped into a filigree of words as unique and lovely as any snowflake. Whether the retrieved idea forms itself into an opus, or a less grand offering, its essence depends upon the nurturing.
Realizing the value of concepts that have been lost through intended recollection, I no longer rely on my memory. Now, I immediately record my thoughts on my cell phone or write them down to ensure their survival. By logging them, the potential of each thought can be realized. If unable to develop the topic into a full manuscript, I reconsider it as an anecdote, a filler, or a poem. Having the tangible reference ensures that, whatever shape the concept takes, its potential is honored.
Even when my preserved thoughts mature into feature articles or essays, I don’t consider those manuscripts finished once they’ve been published. They may still be profitable in the reprint market and beyond. I often secure lucrative sales by extracting and compacting portions that are nestled within full-length manuscripts. For example, by compressing Christian essays I have written, they have been reframed for sales in the devotionals market. From devotionals, poetry and fillers have emerged. Likewise, short works can be expanded. By changing the perspective or slant of original pieces, they can be transformed into secular manuscripts or life experience essays. Each structure provides a different form of application and appeal to the individual reader.
Just like a snowfall can provide endless configurations of beauty and interest, we authors can re-form our words to express thoughts in myriad ways. No matter how meager the original thought might seem, if that thought is preserved and nurtured, a writer can expand it to fullness. The progeny of a single snowflake can constitute a flurry. I no longer let any mental snowflake melt. I immediately jot down ideas no matter how gently they fall upon my mind.
Rebecca MacKenzie is a freelance author based in Wisconsin. Her work has been purchased by an eclectic mix of publications, including writing, parenting, teaching and Christian magazines. An award winning essayist, Rebecca’s poetry and short stories have been included in anthologies and literary journals. A seminary graduate (Trinity International University, Chicago, IL – MAR), Rebecca has authored Christian Studies curricula as well.
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