How many genius ideas do you get during the day? How many valuable thoughts do you produce daily? I bet a lot. No, really, I am not trying to flatter you–I mean it: people are able to produce loads of creative ideas every day. The problem is that ideas come and go easily. You may have a one-billion-dollar idea that could change your entire life–and in a second, forget about it forever. The same happens to me, and to thousands of other people.
So, what should we do? My answer is: note what’s important down. I like the expression that the shortest pencil is the longest memory. That’s so true! And simple. If you ever get interested in how many worthwhile thoughts you produce per day, try writing each of them down immediately after they come into your head. For me, this practice has changed me a lot in terms of my writing capabilities, creativity, and even self-esteem.
Here are some pieces of advice which you might find useful when noting things down:
1. The method of notetaking matters. There is no ultimate and effective method though–you must develop it yourself. Some writers use match-boxes and handkerchiefs to write their random thoughts down. Thank God we live in the 21st century! Personally I use a simple smartphone for this purpose.
2. By the way, instead of using advanced apps such as Evernote, try something more simple. Use ColorNote–it’s fast and minimalistic, and suits quick notetaking perfectly.
3. Write your thoughts down exactly how they came to your head. Don’t edit them, don’t try to make them sound cool. I know one guy who can’t make quick records and continue onto drafting just because his writing doesn’t sound “professional” when it’s raw. Don’t let this stop you. Raw thoughts give you a wider space for interpretations.
4. Don’t be a perfectionist. Writing and perfectionism are incompatible.
5. If you are using an app, categorize and organize your notes when you have free time. For example, I categorize my notes in several groups, such as “Ideas for writing, “Thoughts,” ”Random coolness,” and so on. If you use a paperback notebook, develop a system of marks to label your thoughts by your own categories.
6. “This idea is so great that I’ll never forget it! I’ll memorize it, and record it later, because I don’t have time for it now.” That’s one of the biggest lies a writer can try to convince themselves of. Remember the rule: “Got a cool thought? Record it immediately, by all means.”
7. You don’t necessarily have to note thoughts in plain text. Make drawings, create graphs or mindmaps–all means are good that help you effectively memorize something.
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