One of my favorite poems by Charles Bukowski is called Oh Yes. It goes like this:
there are worse things than
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it's too late
and there's nothing worse
For years, I thought this poem was about love. And for Bukowski, presumably, it was. But I think there's a lesson in it for writers, too. Because ideas, like love, can escape you.
Don't let them. Ideas are intangible gold. Who knows what that kernel might grow into?
Keep a pen and paper on your nightstand in case something comes to you in the middle of a lucid dream. And, most importantly, find it in yourself to wake up and scribble it down.
An idea strikes you while jogging? While driving? During a pillow fight? That's no excuse not to document it: take that fancy phone out and record a voice memo. It'll take you 15 seconds. Big deal.
At least you won't forget your idea. And whether you decide to put it down on paper that night or decades later, at least it won't be too late.