When we published an article on ideation tools recently, an iCreatedDaily mastermind member had some questions and comments about one of the tools listed: keeping an ideas journal. We wanted to share that snippet—and our response—with you here.
(We’ll link to the ideation tools article at the end).
Managing Your Ideas Journal
About the idea journal. I can never decide whether to write:
1) more than one idea on a page
2) on fronts and backs of pages
3) each idea on its own page so I can tear it out of the journal when I’m ready to do it
The truth is that I seldom go back to idea journals (because I always have too many ideas anyway) so my thrifty mind says it’s a waste of paper (you know, protect the rain forest).
All great questions! If you’ve been keeping an ideas journal, chances are you’ve encountered some of the same deliberations.
Bottom line, we’re big on doing what works best for you, and what works best for you may be different than what works best for us or the next person. That said, we’re sharing what works best for us. Let us know your take and we may add it to this—or another—article.
“Ideas are the currency of the 21st Century.”
It’s Okay for Your Ideas Journal to be Messy
First, accept that your ideas journal is going to be a messy place. Like a construction site in process, or a garden after tilling, “building sites” are supposed to be messy. Ideas are building sites for future projects.
Your ideas journal is where you plant the seeds of your ideas. The inception of any project, is usually messy. Beginnings are where you splash ideas to paper like throwing paint to canvas.
This idea is going to evolve, but for now, your goal is to capture it… to anchor it… to save it for future, and, as importantly, to clear your mind. So have fun and enjoy the freedom to be messy in the creative process and don’t worry about editing while your idea is under construction. You can revisit it later, when you have the time to consider whether this is the next idea for you to develop further.
It’s the pauses… that’s where the music resides.
Your Ideas Journal is for Capturing the Moment
You may feel like writing slowly and reflectively in your best handwriting. Another idea may be crowding its way into your mind so determinedly, that your sprawling scrawl is barely legible. Don’t worry about the form of your entry, rather, dive into the flow and enjoy the rush of the idea and the budding potential it could become. In other words, ENJOY the process and don’t worry about the mess. Plenty of time to clean it up later.
When your ideas muse comes calling, write it down, and she will visit more often. Act on it and she will take up residence.
~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com
How to Use Your Ideas Journal
Now remember, you do what works best for you. This is just sharing what I do, should it be helpful, and to answer the precipitating questions.
1. If the idea fills up 1/2 or more of the page, I just leave it as one per page and leave the extra space for embellishing. I don’t write on the back of that page for the same reason. It’s not uncommon for me to come back and add another similar or adjunct idea to exiting ones, and I use the extra space and back for that.
2. If it’s just a line or two, I draw a thick line and use second half for the next idea, (unless I’m pretty sure there will be lots more to add to this, then I’ll leave it blank as in #1 above).
3. When I select an idea to do, I leave that page in the journal, but place a nice big colorful checkmark with a bright highlighter over it. I developed the idea of keeping ideas dated and in the notebook based on feedback on trademarks, copyrights and patents. If ever an issue comes up, you will have the date and chronology of your creations to back you up. Chances are you will never need it, but it’s also legacy for your heirs when you make it big. 😉
4. If one idea is nixed, I just slash it with a big “X”. I don’t usually tear out or throw away ideas, even if they’ve been “X’d” off for a couple reasons:
- It’s cool to see old ideas and the evolution of the quality of ideas… and to chuckle over silly ones I once thought were good.
- Sometimes that X’d off idea will resurface in another angle that’s better, or open the door to another better one.
And yes… I rarely go back to my ideas either because there are always new ones. Living in the flow of ideas, there’s never a shortage. However, it’s a relief to know that I’ve got them written and accounted for and can thus get them out of my head to free up that space to focus on whichever idea is in development and under construction now.
You can’t make money without selling something real. You can’t make something real without first imagination manifesting itself in your head. You can’t have imagination without surrendering yourself to an idea that you want to create something of value to other human beings.
Start. Sustain. Succeed. iCreateDaily!