One of the things I learned in my short stint in my high school paper (way back) was to keep a small notebook in my pocket for jotting down notes and ideas for writing. The fact that I was also dabbling in creative writing that time helped–I also found this useful in jotting down things that my imagination and daydreaming could come up with. My notebook(s) really proved useful in helping me remember those numerous things that keep going on in my head, whether newsy items to report on, or creative ideas I want to develop.
But I often lose my tickler notebooks. And even a small notebook plus a pen doesn’t always feel comfortable in one’s pockets. Lost notebooks meant lost ideas. And not bringing a notebook meant lost ideas anyway, as I couldn’t find a more convenient way to keep track of them.
And considering I come up with the most interesting of ideas while in the shower, I found it difficult to scribble notes with wet hands.
That ended my habit of keeping an idea notebook handy.
These days, though I’m using a better way to store ideas–at least for me. I note down ideas on my mobile phone.
My Mobile Phone
When I started this, phones were a bit archaic by today’s standards, and my ideas were kept as short notes saved as draft SMS messages. I gradually progressed to smartphones, and now I use my phones’ Notes application to store my ideas. What I like about this are the following:
- I can sync my notes between computer and phone,
- I usually carry my phone almost anywhere I go, anyway, so no need for a separate tool, and
- I’ve become quite adept at typing on my phone’s keypad, so I can easily key in idea notes even while on the move.
So whenever a blog-worthy idea pops into mind, or whenever I read, hear or see something worth reporting, I pull out my trusty phone, press the shortcut key assigned to my Notes app, and type away. I even keep my phone under my pillow when I sleep. It serves a dual purpose–as my alarm clock, and as my notepad, when I suddenly wake up in the dead of the night with a brilliant idea, or with a strange dream.
I know some people would prefer paper and pen, since you could jot down more than text this way. Some others would prefer posting on a wiki or some online application. Some would prefer Post-It notes. But the important thing here is that you have a reliable and secure place to keep those ideas. The best methods would be those that are easily accessible, and easily backed-up in case bad things happen.
As secondary note-taking tools, I do use various other apps like Tada List and Evernote, for longer and more complicated notes, and Dropbox for sharing my notes (and other files) across different computers.
A lot of my blog posts here on Performancing and elsewhere are products of my brainstorming with myself through my idea notebook. Perhaps it’s the same case with others.
Do you keep an idea notebook? If so, in what medium? And how has it been helpful to you?