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Stay Away From Crack(s)

Leaf. Crack. Its a metaphor.

Leaf. Crack. It's a metaphor.

Have you ever thought about how much information we let slip through the cracks?

Maybe it’s a great quote that we’ll never remember after we hear it. An inspiring piece of art or even an advertisement or commercial that we won’t be able to recall when we need inspiration. Or maybe it’s a great marketing idea that we come up with and can’t remember to save our lives.

These would all be very valuable when we’re looking for some creative ideas or some inspiration at some point down the road. So, in hopes of preventing this from happening, there’s a few things that I’ve started doing…

JOURNAL

I recently bought a moleskin notebook and I’ve started using it to write all sorts of stuff in. This is mainly for inspirational quotes, long term “ideas” I come up with, or anything that I could look back on at a later time and find really useful. I see this sort of like the secret notebook from The Waterboy that the coach kept all of his plays in and was the secret to his success. I’m pretty psyched for the potential of this little notebook in the future.

SCRAPBOOK

I know what you’re thinking and, no, I’m not talking the type of scrapbook that you start a club for. I like looking through magazines and clipping out ads that I find really creative and are really able to break through the clutter. These can be a source for me to use when I’m looking for a creative kick start.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Other times, I’ll be in some random place and think of an idea for a blog post or a great idea for how to approach a project out of nowhere. This is when I’ll have to get creative in how I make note of it (because I’ve learned that with me, if I don’t take a note, I’m bound to forget it). My first option is to email myself if I’m at a computer so that I’ll definitely see it. If I’m not at a computer, I’ll type a note into my phone or iPod and save it. If neither of those work, well, I’ll probably spend so much time thinking about how to make note of it that it’d be virtually impossible for me to forget.

So, why am I telling you this? For starters, I thought some of these may be useful for yourself and inspire you to start doing something along these lines. More importantly, though, I wanted to see if there was anything you do that’s similar to either remember stuff for inspiration later or simply what do you do when you need inspiration? Do you look through notes you have? Do you read books? Do you look at other people’s work? I’m excited to hear your processes in the comments section!


Photo from Flickr user: EJP Photo

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • ryanstephens September 29, 2009, 8:05 am

    I have a notebook that I keep both future blog ideas, quotes, and my favorite key points from books I've read. It's not Moleskin. That's just pretentious. :)

    I write on EVERYTHING though. I have a sticky pad next to my computer at work, at home, and on my bedside table. I also use random strips of paper as book marks to write page #'s and blog ideas on as I'm reading. Basically, you could pitch a tent on the circus I've created, but the system seems to work for me.

    Now that you have a moleskin notebook are you doing to start drinking fifty dollar bottles of wine?

  • Jackie Adkins September 29, 2009, 8:16 am

    $50? Yea right. And I drink Sam's Club soda and by store brand toothpaste. You underestimate my high roller-ness.

    Say what you want about moleskin, but it was on sale at Border's for like $5 and it said Hemingway used one on the packaging, so how could I say no? It's like trying to get Favre to retire…you just can't.

    Your note taking circus definitely sounds like you're letting very little slip through the cracks, which will without a doubt payoff on down the road. Have you found these notes you've taken pretty useful in blogging and consulting?

  • Elisa Doucette September 29, 2009, 2:44 pm

    My co-worker once joked that for April Fools Day he was going to cover my desk with Post-its since I used them so often. Seriously, on my current desk I have 5 different types (they all serve different purposes!)

    Like Ryan, I keep little notes and memos all over the place. One problem with that is that I'll occasionally go “Shoot, where did I put that?!” I feel a little better because Thoreau had notebooks for everything he did, but I realize I should probably start being a little more organized like that.

    Another note…cause I learned taking notes while you are driving is bad…I use the voice recorder on my cell phone to take voice notes on ideas I get for blogs while I am driving. I drive a LOT and it gives you lots of time to think, so that has worked really well. It's not Moleskin or anything, but it works. :P

  • Jackie Adkins September 29, 2009, 3:03 pm

    Thank you very much for not writing notes while driving, haha. That'd be worse than texting probably! I like the color coded post-its. I haven't made it that far (yet). I'm sure your notes are the same as mine in that they're basically a secret code anyways because nobody could make out what my notes meant by just reading them. The color coding would make it that much more of an encrypted note!

  • Grace Boyle September 29, 2009, 4:49 pm

    I always have a notebook / planner in my purse and I never go anywhere without my purse. I have a lot of notes in there, important information, thoughts and to-do's. I would definitely be more disorganized if it weren't for my 'life' notebook that I carry around with me everywhere.

    Sometimes our best thoughts or ideas come out of nowhere, we better not forget them or better yet, as the thoughts begin to flow embrace it right then and there and jot them down. Great post, Jackie!

  • Jackie Adkins September 29, 2009, 4:54 pm

    Okay so nobody take this the wrong way, but I've always been a wee bit jealous of women for having the luxury of carrying a purse with you at all times so you can carry around stuff like a notebook to write stuff down in. Us guys, we only have the options of writing on our hands, wearing a man purse/murse/man satchel, or (God forbid) carrying around a notebook by hand.

    So what I'm saying is: lucky!

  • Grace Boyle September 29, 2009, 4:58 pm

    Haha I think you're totally valid in saying it. Here are some suggestions: Those messenger bags are really awesome for guys. I see guys wearing them all the time, especially to and from work because you can bring important things (like notebooks) with you. You also can slip that moleskin in your pocket most of the time. Like you're a journalist and keep a small pad of paper with you (guy journalists do this everywhere you go). So see, solutions :)

    And PS. I've totally been jealous that guys can always have pockets and don't NEED to carry a purse when they go out or wherever they go. Even? :)

  • Jackie Adkins September 29, 2009, 5:03 pm

    I actually do have one of said messenger bags, but just don't use it too much. So, maybe I need to hop on that. Maybe I just need to buy an updated one that is more stylish than the one I have now to make me want to use it (all about accessorizing, right?)

    Sounds like if you were a guy you *really* would've been set when cargo shorts were “in”! We're all even now!

  • Ryan Knapp September 30, 2009, 1:12 pm

    I have to chime in, I carry a Nike sling pack with all of my essentials in it (if its informal).

    1) Moleskin
    2) Reporters notebook (spiral is on top) Yes I'm particular.
    3) Small digital camera
    4) USB Cable (charges my Blackberry and digi cam)
    5) Granola Bars (never know when oyu have to eat)
    6) Business cards
    7) Anything else for the day that I toss in.

    I have a messenger bag as well, and a really nice briefcase that I use for important meetings.

    Cargo shorts were the worst because I just stuffed them with things I didn't need!

  • Jackie Adkins September 30, 2009, 1:21 pm

    I think you and Grace have convinced me. I'm going Saturday to find a sweet bag to carry stuff in. And cargo shorts always took forever to remember what pocket you put stuff in at times. I think one day we will look back at them like we do denim shorts/jorts for guys :) (hopefully nobody reading this wears them, if you do, then they look really good on you).

  • Mike Coombs October 2, 2009, 11:01 am

    I have been carrying (and taking abuse) a “purse” for many, many years for exactly the reasons you discuss. Mainly in summer and shorts! I like to refer to it as the “Satchel of Extreme Masculinity”. Go for it. Sun Glasses. Reading Glasses (I'm old) Blackberry, keys, little moleskin,pen, wallet, small camera with big lense, iPod, …..

  • Mike Coombs October 2, 2009, 1:01 pm

    I have been carrying (and taking abuse) a “purse” for many, many years for exactly the reasons you discuss. Mainly in summer and shorts! I like to refer to it as the “Satchel of Extreme Masculinity”. Go for it. Sun Glasses. Reading Glasses (I'm old) Blackberry, keys, little moleskin,pen, wallet, small camera with big lense, iPod, …..

  • Mike Coombs October 2, 2009, 5:01 pm

    I have been carrying (and taking abuse) a “purse” for many, many years for exactly the reasons you discuss. Mainly in summer and shorts! I like to refer to it as the “Satchel of Extreme Masculinity”. Go for it. Sun Glasses. Reading Glasses (I'm old) Blackberry, keys, little moleskin,pen, wallet, small camera with big lense, iPod, …..

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