Attention: All writers.
Announcing a “must-have” item now available to stimulate thoughts and generate the flow of ideas. It’s been available for centuries, but I was only recently introduced to this fabulous item. And frankly, I can’t believe I’ve lived so long without it! Now that I’m paying attention, I find that a substantial majority of well-respected writers I’ve encountered in the last few months—modern, classical, or ancient and from all economical situations—keep/kept this item or it’s equivalent with them at all times.
The “must-have” for any writer or conscious thinker is the commonplace book—a pocket-sized (or purse-sized) notebook carried with you at all times in order to record what is uppermost on your mind at any given moment.
See if this sounds familiar: you’re driving down the road, or in the dentist’s chair, or suddenly awakened in the night with a brilliant, or at least interesting, idea, but you’ve no place to jot it down! By the time you get your hands on paper and pen, the thought has long since faded into the far recesses of your mind. Lost forever.
Don’t ya hate that?!
The commonplace book defeats the above scenario. That never has to happen again! The moment a thought hits, you whip it out, and write it down. Voile! The thought is saved from certain death. (Although, if you’re driving, I recommend taking the time to pull off the road before recording your thought.)
A few things to keep in mind while getting used to your commonplace book:
- The thought itself is important and should not be prejudged for quality.
- The trigger and the idea it promotes don’t necessarily have to reflect one another.
- Trust your instincts. Editing as you write may destroy the beauty of the original thought. So write it first, that way it’s safely preserved, and then hack it to pieces.
Also, among your jotted thoughts, please include thoughts from the following categories:
Any thoughts from the above may be, or lead to, your best ideas. In particular, obvious thoughts actually hold a fair amount of value, because they usually resonate well with the masses.
Give it a try. If you’re not in the habit already, pick up an inexpensive, small notebook the next time you’re at the store, and see if this works for you. I’d love to hear how it goes.