Creativity: Capturing your ideas

Aug 7, 2014 | Better Writing

“I need to start recording things.”

Michael Wade comes to that conclusion at the end of his post, “Something about The Meaning of Life.” He describes a situation that’s common to anyone who’s had a good idea. If you don’t capture it right away it disappears.

Capture those ideas

There are lots of ways to capture ideas. People use pocket notebooks and index cards and recording devices to get the job done. If you don’t capture them, they disappear and then they can’t do you any good.

Recording ideas should be one way you capture them

Writing ideas down works most of the time. But if you’re driving, like Michael, or working out or doing housework, recording is the best choice. You can keep doing what you’re doing while you record.

Recording works in high creativity moments

We’re most likely to get ideas when we’re relaxed and doing something that doesn’t require our full attention. Driving is a good example. Recording works best then.

Sometimes we get an idea when we’re in the middle of working on a project. A recorder lets you capture the idea without breaking stride.

There are lots of ways to record

Small digital voice recorders are great for idea capture. I currently use an Olympus 702-PC that fits nicely in my pocket. My last Olympus digital voice recorder lasted about seven years. It would have lasted longer if I hadn’t run over it with my car. Don’t ask.

There are other ways to record, too. You can make audio notes on most smartphones. You can capture an idea by leaving yourself a voicemail message.

You can also capture ideas on index cards or in a small notebook. That works well when you’re in a situation where talking to your recorder would disturb others, like church or a concert.

Capture all your ideas

When you get an idea, grab it. Don’t try to decide if it’s any good. Don’t try to make it better. All that can come later. Capture it. Right now.

Capture is useless without review

Capture is the first step. You need to review the ideas you’ve captured or capturing them is just an administrative exercise.

Click here to find out more about idea capture tools.

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