Keeping Track of all Those Ideas

For people who are strongly creative, the most frustrating thing is when you have a great idea and then you don’t have anything to write it down, or you are in a hurry or you have whatever it is going on in your life. Most frustratingly, so many ideas come when we are not using our brains in any particularly constructive way, like in the shower or walking somewhere that we pass by most days, in the line at the coffee shop, etc.

But perhaps the most frustrating part about all the ideas we develop is when we don’t get to take action on them. If we are thinking of something that is just brilliant, and then we lose it, we feel that we have lost a piece of our soul to the altar of hurry. What made us feel inspired and wonderful was spoiled by whatever it was, and we quite resent that.

Occasionally, and perhaps I should say very occasionally, I will pause to write down an idea, or make an audio recording of the idea I had. I guarantee you that I actually pick these up these ideas again less than 2% of the time. The audio recordings inevitably get lost, and often the notes are written in such haste that either the handwriting is totally illegible (guilty) or that the message typed in our note pad app lacks any of the crackle that our initial idea felt fresh in our minds.

On the 2nd episode of the Storybrand Podcast, they pointed out that people who are able to put information in the context of a story have a near infinite ability to remember information presented in those stories. Gut check yourself to an excellent story you heard–do you still remember details about how her lipstick was a Revlon red, about how the Dave Matthews loved Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, about how the the ice cream was chocolate chip mint. This is why I remember watching a video similar to this in high school…more than 13 years ago, on one day. I realized that there was a story behind these elements.  Each of these details only remain in your mind because they played some role in the story that was told. In addition, every detail remained with you because it had some function and that it fit with the way that your brain is designed to present information, it fit according to the story.


The truth I have to admit to myself when I feel an inspiration, is that I often lose those moments because I haven’t figured out the way it works into a bigger picture, or the way the idea will develop. Writing this blog, for example, is a way for me to begin telling a story, I have to begin connecting pieces together that will allow me to create a compelling narrative.

So, the resolution I have is not to stop and write down every idea I have, but rather to spend the time to develop the ideas into compelling narratives. Writing ideas down is best done when some pre-frontal processing has a already been done, and the ideas will flow naturally and easily.  And it’s more fun!








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