Creative Mondays #019 – An idea journal



A paper journal.  A smartphone. A wire bound notebook.  No matter your preference, get an idea journal and keep it handy.  You never know when inspiration will strike and you need to write it down.  YOU NEED TO WRITE IT DOWN!  You will forget.  I promise you.  There is hardly any regret that stings more than forgetting that REALLY great idea you had and you said to yourself, “I’ll remember it later.”

I’m a notebook junkie.  I love all kinds of notebooks.  Recently I’ve been fond of Moleskine notebooks.  I have a hardbound one for my Creative Journal that’s I’ve spoken about in a previous post and I have a softbound one my day to Idea Journal.  The Idea Journal is just that, a storehouse for ideas.  Ideas for stories, audio drama, scripts, songs, you name it, I’ll write it own in there.  If I hear and inspirational quote, I write it down in there.  It is a lined notebook, but I’ll doodle and sketch things out in there as well.  It’s truly an all purpose notebook.  I keep it in my backpack which is usually with me wherever I go.

When I don’t have my backpack, I rely on my smartphone (or other device).  I’m a Mac user and it seems Mac has finally gotten it right with their Notes application.  It is on your iPhone, your computers and iPad.  If you create, edit or add to a note on one device, it syncs them all up (if you are connected to the net).  It is a simple, no frills app and I use it a lot to jot down ideas when I don’t have my Idea Journal with me. There are other apps out there for taking notes, heck, there’s even a Moleskine app, but I like the simplicity of the Notes app that comes standard and it’s my preferred digital note taker of choice.  Often times, I will transfer the ideas from my phone to my main Idea Journal to keep them all in one centralized location.

For many, many years now, I’ve also kept an Idea Journal next to my bed.  This is usually one of those standard, college ruled, wire bound notebooks.  The full US Letter sized ones.  The reasons for this is if inspiration strikes while I’m lying in bed awake at night, or I have a fantastical dream that I want to write down for possible story ideas later, I can grab the notebook, flip open to the page and write down my ideas in the dark.  The next morning I rip the page out and transfer the ideas (adding details that I’ll no doubt remember) into the Moleskine Idea Journal.  During these ‘middle of the night’ flashes of creativity, I don’t worry if I’m writing neatly or on the lines.  I make sure not to scribble but I just write it out, in the dark, knowing I’ll transfer it in the morning.  The bigger sized notebook allows me to write away without worry of running out of room on the page.

So I use three different types of note taking items for my Idea Journal.  A Moleskine soft cover, the Notes app on my devices and a wire bound notebook near the bed.  One, all or none of these may work for you, but find the one or combination of several that do work for you.  And start writing your ideas down.  Once you start collecting ideas, your Idea Journal will be a treasure trove on inspiration to dig though when you’re feeling stuck.

Do you keep an idea journal?  If so, what kind/type do you use?

2 thoughts on “Creative Mondays #019 – An idea journal”

  1. Index cards! Actually, those are the intermediate medium between the original notebook scribblings, and the outline I used to organize the elements on those cards. This is how I’ve organized the first few chapters of a comic idea I’d had rolling around in my head for several years, by arranging the cards in the most logical and sensible order.

    Sadly, my comic has stalled, because unfortunately I don’t possess that “I can’t *not* draw” gene that makes so many artists prolific! x.x

    1. Wildcat! Yes! I use index cards all the time as well. Mostly for todo lists and notes while editing audio or video, but they are an essential part of my idea planning.

      I wish I had that draw gene as well. That’s when I take the Jim Henson approach and surround myself with artists who are much more talented than I! Go for the comic project though! Find some way to get it done!

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