Today, I’ve got nine super-easy, tried and tested ways to save and organize your ideas before you forget them–I use them all and they work!
Ideas have an amazing way of striking when you least expect them. If you are a blogger/vlogger/writer, of course you’ve heard this a million times, that you should have a place, digital or non-digital, to record your ideas.
The question is, how often have you been able to practice it?
Bloggers and writers often talk about writer’s block. I’d say such a thing does not exist when you note down your ideas.
With the A to Z Challenge around the corner, the smart and well-planned people have already dipped into their ideas repository and are probably ready with their posts to go live from the word go!
Others, such as myself, will breeze through it writing randomly, picking ideas as they come. There’s a word for these people: pantsers. I know, right?
Whichever category you belong to—one thing is certain. You MUST write/note it all down somewhere so that brilliance is not lost to the world forever.
As I said earlier, the thing about ideas is this: they make an appearance at the most unexpected times, wrapped in the coat of inspiration. They have no sense of time and place. The just appear like little beacons of bright light, like mild shock waves.
When they do, the mind has an a-ha! moment and thinks, hey, what a brilliant idea! We can’t wait to build on it. But let’s say this happens when we’re bathing. What to do? If you’re like me, you’ve already begun to write in your mind. However, that’s no guarantee that you’ll remember it later when you are out and applying that coat of moisturizer on your skin. Or when you actually sit down to write and wait for your muse, who’s gone for a long walk and you know not when she’ll return.
I have lost count of the number of times inspiration has struck at inopportune moments such as…
- When I am on my porcelain seat of wisdom
- When I am showering
- When I am cooking
- When I am driving
- When I am at the doctor’s
- When I am in the market
- When I am in the elevator
- When I am talking to someone
And so on and so forth. You get the idea.
What do I do?
I’ve found ways to overcome this challenge of not losing those precious ideas. Of course, when I actually get down to writing about them, I may not think they’re as great as they seemed, but that is a different story. Not relevant now. What’s important is that the idea has been captured and is waiting for me.
You know, I’ve even written on the misted mirror in the bathroom!
Which brings me to this:
how to keep those ideas from vanishing?
Here’s what I do.
9 ways to easily organize your ideas before you forget
1. Have a notebook and pen handy
I see you looking at me skeptically. Your book is far away from the spot where the idea struck, right?
So, have several notepads all over the place. While that sounds hilarious, it works. I shamelessly scribble on my kitchen shelves, which I’ve lined with white paper. I think it looks kind of charming and goes with the decor — which is basically mix and match. Even the coffee and tea mugs are assorted because we like it. Okay. TMI.
But seriously, you’ll be happy you did. Some months down the line, it can be so much fun to go back and look at what you’ve written. Promise!
2. Leverage technology
This is the smartphone age and it is only fair that we take advantage of its features. No need to be super-savvy. Just find the digital notepad and note your ideas. If you don’t have one, find an app. My favorite is Google Keep, which is easy to use and can be accessed online from anywhere across your browsers or whatever system you use. And yeah, it auto saves as you type. And syncs across devices. Win-win. Or use Evernote note-taking app to store and organize your ideas. Saw something interesting online while browsing? Save it to Pocket via the browser bookmarklet.
I do another silly thing. I message myself on Google Hangouts. Laugh. But it’s an on the go idea I once had and now it works beautifully.
3. Record your ideas
You’re not going public — not yet, anyway — so feel free to hit that record button and speak. Often my hands are busy but so is my mind. Also, I find it a challenge to type on that minuscule keyboard on the phone, being visually challenged. Also, autocorrect is my sworn enemy even though it gives me a good laugh and gets me in trouble.
So what do I do? Just click the “mic” and speak. Yes, takes a bit of getting used to, for the mic, but you’ll get there quickly. It’s a boon, really! I remember when my friend’s mom first learned to use her phone, we were stunned to see her lightning fast replies on WhatsApp. When we asked her how, she said, of course I speak into the phone. And we wondered, why didn’t we think of that? Yes, use the mic. Keep a recording, or just speak to text. Also, so much fun to hear how you sound! You can also simply use the sound recorder on your phone, duh, you Rockstar you!
4. Use a notebook necklace
Seriously! That is a thing! It totally works if you have a junk jewelry fetish, like me. There are plenty of super-cute notepads in the market. Just get one, hitch it to an unusual “chain” or just a leather cord — they are called notebook necklaces, literature jewelry— so cool, eh? And wear it as an accessory. See these.
I just grab a small spirally bound notepad and string a rope through it, and hang it around my neck. Cheap. Easy.
Or you can be elegant and stylish with one like you are seeing on the top, here.
They look super-cool, you know, and are super-useful, just waiting to organize your ideas.
5. Create Gmail drafts
One of my favorites. The almost unlimited space in Gmail and the fact that we can call up a “compose” any time, makes it easy to spill those ideas into a draft that autosaves itself…most of the time. This works if you are always connected.
6. Take photos
Does the sight of something trigger ideas? This happens to me all the time. I look at something, and see a story there. I simply pull out my camera and click — and I’ve stored the memory. Serves as a great mnemonic, you know. Works especially if you are a visual person. Nothing more uplifting than going through your photo gallery, reliving those moments. And writing about them.
7. Whiteboard, blackboard
Yes, if you work from home, or work from office, this can be a great addition to your routine. I use both. I find the blackboard easier because chalk is easier to find and I buy it in bulk. Also, nostalgia value — school days and all that. Stuck for a blackboard? You can get these snazzy stickers on Amazon that you can fix just about anywhere. I find them super-useful! And reusable! Take a look at this: Chalkboard stickers – I bought a set of eight and four disappeared as soon as I opened the box, because my folks loved them.
8. Sticky notes
Sitting at the computer? Use the digital sticky notes app. Or be a fossil like me and enjoy the actual sticky notes! So many colors to choose from! And how enjoyable to write on. I guarantee that you will smile every time you see and use them!
9. Use a bullet journal
Bullet journals are marvelous notebooks that help you organize your ideas, schedule, your to-do lists AND much more. I got one recently with loads of stickers and absolutely love it. Here’s the one I got.
I plan to write a post soon on bullet journalling – stay tuned!
How do you catch and organize your ideas and lock them away before they escape?
Please do share in the comments.
(This post has some Amazon affiliate links. If you use them to buy, I will earn a commission at no extra cost you. I will then donate that money to charity)
This is a great list that I never have done. I thought about it but never did it…shame on me but I’m glad you mentioned these because people can get great info from this…like me.
Birgit recently posted…Birthdays a Go-Go
Some great ideas here, Vidya. Thanks for sharing. Will look forward to your bullet journal post.
Dola recently posted…#AtoZChallenge Theme Reveal: Self-Editing Tips for Writers.
Thank you Dola! Working on it. Will tag you when I publish!
Awsome article Vidhya, I enjoyed reading it to the end, so much I have learned on charting my ideas and keeping them on track. I get my ideas while driving or while talking to someone and immediately jot them down on my idea diary. Bullet journalling is interesting please update soon. And thanks for all the wonderful links.
Agree with your post many times I forgot my ideas after a few minutes due to not applying or writing anywhere!!