As a writer, I have long been aware that first impressions are the most intense and unbiased, undimmed by time and faulty memory.. I make notes of personal observations whenever I experience something new that excites me. I keep these notes in a file. Sometimes they are unique personal impressions that I can incorporate into my work in progress. Other times they inspire a plot or a character trait. On my trip to Alaska I made notes on anything I could find–napkins, paper towels, brochures (in the margins) and I carried a mini-tape recorder (mailing the tapes home as they were completed). Some new writers ask me, “Where do you get your ideas for stories?” Life is so full of ideas, and if you make notes of first impressions, you will have a treasure trove of material to work with.