This one is going to be one for the ‘duh’ column but it’s an important reminder for creative tyoes and our scattered right brians.
Keep a notebook and pen or pencil next to your bed so that when you have a inspirational thought (or dream) in the middle of the night, you can jot it down.
No matter how much you think to yourself that you’ll remember the idea in the morning, YOU WILL NOT. Okay, maybe you will every now and then, but do you really want to risk the possibility of losing a REALLY, REALLY good idea? No. THen keep the notebook by your bed.
Every year around the start of fall, stores like Rite-Aid, CVS or Walgreens sell those 70 page spiral notebooks for under a dollar. Usually something crazy like 60 cents or so. I usually pick up a few. Then, on my nightstand I put one of those notebooks, opened to a blank page with a pen resting right on top of it.
If inspiration strikes in the middle of the night, I reach for the notebook and pen without even turning on the light. Then, I slowly start writing down the idea on the page. I don’t worry about writing on the lines, I just try to write as deliberately neatly as possible in the dark so that in the morning I can read what I’ve written.
I write in big letters, turning the page if I get to the bottom. Again, the main goal is to get the idea down, not write a report you’re turning in for a grade. The reason for doing it in this manner is so I don’t have to turn on the light. Personally, if I turn on the light, I’ll be awake. This method really works for me.
In the morning I read through what I wrote and then transfer it to my Creative Idea Journal for further action. Once it is safely transferred, I will tear out the pages from the nighttime notebook and then place it back on my nightstand, ready for the next late night inspiration.
This is my method but you may have some other way of doing it. I’d thought about jotting the things down on my iPhone, but if you think light wakes me up, the iPhone would have me up answering emails.
This bedside notebook does the trick.
Do you have a method for recording those late night ideas or dreams? If so, let me know what it is in the comments below. Have a creative week!
Here is the third installment of creative ideas I took away from seeing Joel Hodgson’s talk “Riffing Myself” in Northern California recently. I highly recommend going to see this show, even if you aren’t a fan of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It’s a great show for anyone who is creative and, to me, gives great insight on how things, great things like Mystery Science Theatre 3000, are created. You can read the previous two blogs here: Don’t do what you don’t want to do & Nothing ever comes out done.
This final topic is actually a topic that I already have written on and was scheduled to come up soon here on the blog. I may touch upon it again in upcoming weeks, but I really waned to use Joel’s talk as a springboard to write on this idea. The idea of a creative idea book.
Joel told the story of taking a sculpture class in college where the instructor made all the students buy a big, black, hardbound sketch journal to use in the class. Joel thought the idea was a bit pretentious in that he felt he didn’t have any ideas worth putting into a hardbound journal, but it was a requirement so he picked one up. In his talk, Joel actually shows scans of the first two pages of the journal they are filled with ideas for different sculptures. Then he shows a scan of the third page where there are sculpture ideas on the top of the page and below is an, almost comical, mock up of a trick Joel wanted to create for his magic act. He then goes on to show other pages and, never again, were any of the pages adorned with sculpture ideas. From that page on it was ideas for things Joel wanted to create.
Joel calls this his Catalog of Ideas. He likens it to the old magician’s catalog he loved thumbing through as a kid. Full of wondrous things. Possibilities. Things that may happen of may not. His Catalog of Ideas was a storehouse of thoughts on things to create. Some he acted on immediately. Others lay dormant on the page, perhaps to be acted on in the future. He also spoke how, a lot of times, several different ideas in the Catalog would be combined together to create something completely different from anything else. He wrapped this part of the speech up by showing a picture of a closet, I’m assuming, in his office that is now full of large, black, hardbound sketch journals. His catalog of ideas. (Side Note: If you’re as big a fan of Joel’s as I am, wouldn’t you just love to thumb through those?)
So, a Catalog of Ideas. I have to admit, I don’t really keep one like the one Joel mentions in his talk. I think Joel is a lot more visual than I am where I prefer to write things out. Most times if I have an idea I will type it into the notes on my phone. Or I’ll just let it rattle around in my head until it’s so big I just have to act on it. I have recently been keeping a sort of idea journal. It has some ideas but it also has notes from meetings and classes, so it’s not strictly an idea journal. But you know what? I’m going to take it as a challenge to start a Catalog of Ideas of my own. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Again, I will plug Joel’s show. Go see it. For info visit his website here – www.JoelHodgson.com
Do you keep your own Catalog of Ideas? If so, how long have you done it? Tell us about it in the comments below. If you don’t keep one, how do you store all your creative ideas? Again, let me know below.
In 2010, I learned about Jim Henson’s Red Book. The Red Book was a journal that Jim Henson started in 1965 where he wrote down all the significant events that had happened in his life up to that point and then he continued to keep updating the journal from then on. He wrote entries all the way through 1988. There’s a fun website set up at www.JimsRedBook.com where you can see what Jim wrote down for that day in his journal. Jim wrote entries for major events in his life, both creative and personal and it’s an amazing record of some of the amazing things Jim accomplished in his life. A bulk of the entries were accumulated into a book called Imagination Illustrated which is well worth a read. Or two.
After discovering this fact about Jim Henson, I really liked the idea of starting a creative journal. I’m not talking about a journal where I wrote down ideas, though I have one of those as well. I’m talking about a journal where I write down, daily, what creative things I have worked on during the day. I guess the real term would be a Creative Record but I’m just comfortable using the word record.
So I bought a hardbound Moleskin, lined notebook and began keeping the journal. At the end of each day, before bed, I write down the creative things I did that day. I just write a simple line for each thing with the date. Here’s an example of an entry.
8/2/2011 − 2 Milk Minimum show at Flappers
– Continued work on Astral Factor for Cinematic Titanic.
– Met with Leslie Carrara- Rudolph about NorCal Shows
– PuppetUp Rehearsal at Henson.
That’s it. Just a line for each item and I do this every day. I started October 6, 2010 and have made entries for just about every day since then because of my goal of doing at least ONE creative thing everyday. With two minor exceptions, one being breaking my arm, the other recording the day I met someone who influenced me greatly, I only put creative things in this journal. It’s a fantastic record I can look back through to see what I was working on then and what I’m working on now.
It’s also a super great motivator to keep creating. I look forward to writing down the creative things I did each day and I always make sure there is at least one thing I can write down before going to bed. And I do it EVERY day. If I’m on the road or on vacation, I keep a list in my phone and the moment I’m back I write down all the creative things I did while away.
I finished my first creative journal on November 7, 2013 and I started a new one. I’m really proud of that first one as it is a three year, one month and one day record of everything I creatively worked on. It is SUPER fun to go back through and look at what I was doing on a particular day. It was so much fun to start a new one, what a great feeling of accomplishment. And even though I’m only a little ways into my second one, I’m already looking forward to the third!
So try out a creative journal. It doesn’t have to be a physical journal either. It could be a word processor file or a Google Doc you could update from anywhere. But give it a shot and see if it helps motivate you into being creative each day.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to enter writing this blog post into my creative journal!
Have you been doing something similar to this already? If so, let us know what it is and what your process is in the comments below.