It's not a new rule. It isn't my rule. It is simple. If you want to write, you are going to have to write stuff down.
(And if you're a mom, you have to write stuff down; if you're over 30, it's likely you have to write some things down; if you don't sleep enough or if you were scatterbrained to start with, you have to write stuff down.)
If you write, you know your ideas--the good ones, anyway--do not come when you ask for them. The ideas come while you're walking, driving, showering, cooking and sleeping. Which is why there are pieces of scrap paper on my nightstand, in the laundry room and in my pocket when I go for a walk or a run. The laptop is always on in the kitchen, so if I think of something while I'm frying eggplant, I can type a quick note. I have a few apps on my iPhone so if I'm driving or running, I can at least jot a few words when I have a chance to stop. I haven't found a way to keep a notepad in the shower yet but I don't always get in there, every day, anyway! ;)
This isn't new. Life is busy. We are trying to get other things done so we might have time to write or, if we make the time, we are trying to call up the inspiration on cue. So the good ideas wait until you have a quiet moment to sit and breathe.
I had a great one last night! I remember that it was great enough that I included an extra-loud prayer (in my head, anyway) along with the others, that God help me remember today as I was just too tired to write it down.
Apparently, my faith is not as strong as it should be. As a writer, I know that is the biggest writing sin! If you don't write it down before you go to sleep, it will be lost by the time you wake. I prayed for it to stick in my head--and I can remember the two characters involved and where they were--but that's all I've got. There is a stack of paper, pens AND pencils on my nightstand but I was too tired to pick up a pen.
You have been hearing me talk about The Great American Novel for decades but you've been wondering why I don't just finish it already. You had your suspicions but now, I admit it. Writers who are too tired and lazy to pick up a pen aren't going to get very far.
(If one of you was suddenly gifted with a GREAT SCENE involving characters who aren't yours, in a story you don't know, sometime around 12:30am this morning, please email me. I know God heard my prayer so I'm thinking when I didn't write the idea down, He went ahead and gave it to someone else.)