Do you keep a journal? Do you jot down notes, make lists or sketch out ideas at random times during the day?
I’ve tried journaling many times but usually don’t stick with it. Yes, I know what the experts say, but I can never seem to get past a month or so. Needless to say, I have stacks of notebooks full of aborted attempts to keep a journal.
I’m a little more successful at keeping a little notebook handy to jot down ideas. I might not touch it for weeks and then suddenly fill pages with little snippets. Maybe, “blog post about ‘A Great Day in Harlem’” or “short story about the beach”. They act as something to jog my memory. “Oh yes, I thought about a story of a woman standing on a beach experiencing the drowning death of her son or husband on a whaling ship four thousand mile away.” One short phrase can open up that 1000 word post I have stuffed in the back of my brain.
On the other hand, most of the ideas I’ve use for posts and stories were never copied down to one of these notebooks, I just kept them in mind until I had a chance to write them down, even if that meant a couple of days.
And most of the things I’ve written down have never been refereed to again.
I’m relatively disorganized and try to make lists of things, including creative chores. Of course I have to think about it first. Just like journaling I will go for long periods of time when I don’t use lists followed by short bursts of constant use.
In the past I’ve carried voice records while these days I have a voice recording app on my phone. I originally did it so I wouldn’t lose all of the musical ideas flowing through my head. I’d be able to sing them in and transcribe them later. Of course I can count the number of times I actually used a voice record for this purpose with the fingers on one hand and have some to spare.
Recording ideas like this was never natural. Writing things down is completely natural, I just get busy and forget to do it. OK, I get lazy and just don’t do it.
I find that often just writing down a word or two, even if I never refer to that scrap of paper, helps put the idea into a different part of my brain. This goes for all forms of putting my thoughts on paper (using electrons doesn’t seem to have as strong of an effect).
OK, I just admitted how bad I am at these things, how little self-discipline I display. How about you? Do you do any better? Do you keep a journal? Do you constantly scratch notes for future reference? Make lists? How about a voice recorder or other technological answer?