Do you have more ideas than time or do you struggle to come up with new ideas? Whether you’re prolific or seeking to get unstuck from a creative block, an ideas journals is a valuable tool of the trade for creators.
Types of Ideas Journals
There are many different types and styles of journals for creative ideators. Many prefer a blank journal where they can simply write and track ideas. For those who need help generating ideas, a prompt journal can be most helpful. Others enjoy being led through daily positivity or gratitude exercises.
Best Seller Blank Journals
Some of the most popular blank journals range from spiral notebooks to hardcover to leather bound; from lined paper to dots to blank pages.
- Faux leather cover blank lined pages
- Simple plain spiral bound journal with lined pages
- Pocket Journals with lined pages
- Handmade leather bound journal
- Colorful artsy unlined pages journal
If the blank page syndrome strikes you, prompts can be a great way to jumpstart your idea engine. Another is to sing and dance to some favorite music, take a brisk walk or other exercise, preferably outdoors in fresh air. See getting out of creative blocks for more on that.
- Art Prompts Journals – for art and writing, with daily quotes that can serve as prompts
- Gratitude Journals – includes action prompts and space for writing
- Goals Journals – for planning, setting, tracking your goals and ideas
- Positivity Journals – daily quotes and prompts
- Writing Prompt Journals – from Christian to Buddhist, from irreverence to help for anxiety, prompts can help jumpstart your own creative ideation whenever your stuck.
If you do need a few prompts to prime your pump, you can also just use any blank journal, page or digital document and creative prompts such as these:
Table of Contents
- Your Ideas Journal is for Capturing the Madness in the Moment
- Ideas Journal
- Managing Your Ideas Journal
- How to Use Your Ideas Journal
Audio Article – An Ideas Journal
Your Ideas Journal is for Capturing the Madness in the Moment
You may feel like writing slowly and reflectively in your best handwriting. Or, your ideas may be flowing so fast that you’re challenged to get them all down before they disappear as quickly as they arrived.
Don’t worry about the form of your entry. Rather, dive into the flow and enjoy the rush of ideas and the budding potential it could become. In other words, ENJOY the process and don’t worry about the mess—or the perfection of it. Plenty of time to clean it up later.
When it comes to ideas, it’s important to capture them as they come whenever they come or else they’re apt to evaporate as quickly as they appeared.
When your idea muse comes calling, write it down, and she will visit more often. Act on it and she will take up residence.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
When we published an article on ideation tools, an iCreatedDaily mastermind member had some great questions and comments about one of the tools listed: keeping an ideas journal. So we’re sharing those here for you along with our response.
“About the ideas journal. I can never decide whether to write:
- More than one idea on a page
- On fronts and backs of pages
- Each idea on its own page so I can tear it out of the journal when I’m ready to do it
Lynne goes on to say:
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 rainforest).”
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 the next person. That said, we’re sharing here what works best for us. We’d love to hear your take and how you use your ideas journals. Let us know and we’ll include it in this article with a link to your website or social profile if you like.
Managing Your Ideas Journal
First, accept that your ideas journal is probably going to be a messy place. Like a construction site in process, or a garden being planted, these works-in-progress are messy by nature. So too, the nature of most ideas journals.
Ideas journals are the sketch stage of the blueprints for future projects. This is where you sketch and ideate, complete with strikeouts and scribbles that anchor the outline of things to come, should you decide to bring them to life.
The inception of any project, is messy. Beginnings are where you splash ideas to paper like throwing paint to canvas.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
Idea to Paper
Your first recording of your idea is a brain dump. 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 of it.
Recording your ideas on paper is the first step of manifestation.
So have fun and enjoy the freedom to be messy in the creative process. 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.
If you need help on how to decide which idea to do next we elaborate on a simple decision making process in this article and video.
Keeping an ideas journal can free your mind and help you stay focused on your present projects. Don’t be tempted to jump tracks and immediately start working on your new idea. That’s how creators end up with many unfinished projects which end up creating a brain drain as they all take up bandwidth and space in your life and in your mind.
So get it out of your head to explore later. Consider your journal as a repository keeping this new life alive and safe until you’re ready to nurture it to life… or release it in favor of other, better or more relevant ideas.
It’s the pauses… that’s where the music resides.
~Arthur Rubinstein, pianist & composer, 1887-1982
Now remember, you do what works best for you. This is just sharing what we do, should it be helpful, and to answer questions we’ve received.
How to Use Your Blank Ideas Journal
1. One Idea Per Page
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 existing ones, and I use the extra space and back for that.
If it’s just a few words or a line or two, I draw a thick line and use the 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).
2. Keep all Ideas / Pages
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, and at the very least, an album tracking the evolution of your creative ideas. 😉
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 because:
- 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 an idea that’s been X’d will resurface in another angle that’s better, or open the door to another better one.
- Also, it’s not unusual to have the same or similar idea more than once, in which case you’ll want your original posting and version of it in safekeeping.
And yes… I rarely go back to my ideas either because there are always new ones. But by recording the ideas, I can release them from my mind without losing them.
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.
Living in the flow of ideas, there’s never a shortage. But if you do have a creative block, this might help.
You can’t make money without selling something real. Without imagination first manifesting itself in your head, you can’t make something real. You can’t have imagination without surrendering yourself to an idea that you want to create something of value to other human beings.
~James Altucher, author, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and podcaster
Contributions from the Community
“I keep two folders on my computer desktop: 2020 Art Ideas and 2020 Writing Ideas. Easy to add to and to access.”
~Lynda Suzanne Wright, artist, writer, singer, composer
My favorite tool is also just a simple digital document because it’s so easy to update, edit and change.
However, for that reason, if there’s ever any possibility of patent, copyright or trademark issues to come up, a physical journal for backup can be an asset. You’ll want to include the date and context for conception of the idea as proof of the idea in use.
Hello! I’m LeAura, a philosopher, generalist, autodidactic, personal development advocate, entrepreneur, writer, editor, author, ideator, media publisher, and podcaster, passionate about helping others achieve their best possible life! We’re a media publishing company run by our small family of entrepreneurs, writers, and creators around topics we enjoy, such as gardening, health and fitness, creativity and pets, with more to come.
While my greatest teacher is Life… my formal training includes certifications in mediation, fitness, and strategic intervention coaching, including marriage and family. Today, the synergy of creating websites, articles and podcasts, brings together all my favorite things: family, learning, growth, creating, connecting and contributing. To share these with you is a privilege, that serves my lifelong aspiration to help others.
My personal areas of creativity are in writing, masterminding, ideation, synthesis and bringing ideas to life through business and entrepreneurship.
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