Whenever I forgot something when I was younger, my mum always used to say: ‘if it’s important enough, it’ll come back to you’.
While this did stop me from worrying and wracking my brain trying recapture a few ‘EUREKA’ moments. It also means that I’ve lost a few great ideas.
Inspiration does not happen on your terms. You can sit for hours in front of a blank page waiting for it and have nothing.
Then when you’re driving, going for a run or even drifting into a nap and…
There it is. That wonderful idea you’ve been waiting for. This happens to me all the time. I mean, painfully frequently. Take today for example, I’m in the middle of a 90 minute yoga class (I use middle quite loosely here… we were about 15 minutes in) and WHAM that headline I’ve been crying for all week comes steam-rolling in.
And my first thought was:
Inspiration doesn’t care about convenience. It has no sense of timing. In fact, it really isn’t caring about where you are, what you’re doing or if you’re ready! Inspiration is bringing you a resolution and as far as it’s concerned, you better make time for it when it arrives. Sometimes, the great stuff just hits you. And when it does, a little preparation goes a long way. So here are a few ways to catch your ideas before they escape you!
Keep a Note Pad in All of Your Bags
This may seem a little bit extreme, but hear me out. I’m not one of those people who uses the same bag every day. I might be going to the gym before work and take my training bag. I might be travelling. Who knows what could happen in a working week! But, it ‘s also very rare for me to empty the entire contents of every bag that I use. To summarise: one notepad isn’t cutting it. As they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail so I would rather have four pads floating around that rely on just one. Pen and paper may be the most simple way to catch and develop an idea on the spot, make sure that you have one ready!
Start Using Voice Notes
Voice notes are a great way to capture your thoughts when pen and paper aren’t available or, even better, when you’re driving. No need to risk your life for a great idea! Just do the talking and let your phone record that gem of knowledge that’s been dug up from the depths of your mind. There’s plenty of time to play the voice note back when you have time to type up the idea. Technology at it’s best!
Find an App
With the sheer amount of apps that are available, I’m pretty certain that everyone can find one that caters to their needs. I personally use, MindMeister. This is a mind mapping tool that allows you to post your thoughts in a free flowing diagram. You have the option to add images and links (which is great because I love visuals) and I you access your account on your desktop too.
Another popular option is Evernote, which is great if you have to generate ideas for slightly different topics. For example, I’ll separate my marketing and social media ideas by tagging, them. For some other great options, take a look at this article: 7 of The Best Note Taking Apps.
Inspiration can come in a variety of forms. Rather than a being rooted in a memory, an idea may be the result of something that you’ve seen. While writing ideas down to solidify them can be great, if you’re a more visual person. why not capture the moment with a photo? The visual cue may even make a great addition to the final piece.
Keep a List
This is a great way to organise your ideas after recording them. The process doesn’t end once you’ve collected the nugget of gold. It then has to be kept in a safe place for later when you have the time to develop it. Have a list stored somewhere. Personally, I suggest using Google Docs as you can access your account from anywhere. This will provide you with the perfect opportunity to update the ongoing list of inspirational thoughts anywhere, anytime.
So there it is, five ways to catch your ideas before they’re gone. They can be precious and should never be wasted! Who knows what it could lead to, the beginning of a viral video campaign, your next few clients, a collaboration or even accomplishing your dream?
Don’t assume that those ideas will magically reappear. Never take them for granted. In this day and age when every industry is over saturated, there’s absolutely no time for complacency.
Catch as many ideas as you can. Grab the ideas that stop you from sleeping. Hold onto that perfect headline. Do it now. Becuase you never know when inspiration will decide to strike again.