A few months ago my cousin was clearing a few of his old things out from his parents’ house.
He came away with a small box of items that had meant a lot to him as a youngster.
Among these trinkets was his old minidisc player.
For a short while in the early noughties, minidiscs were supposed to be the next big thing.
Their popularity soon stifled though, as digital recording and playback became the norm – lost to a generation of people who didn’t want to have physical copies of their music. (Ironically though, with the resurrection of vinyl, this is tilting the other way).
For a short while the minidisc had been his very favourite thing. With an air of nostalgia he turned it on and listened to the disc that was inside – a tune that hadn’t been played for over a decade.
He remarked simply, yet philosophically, on how it was weird that one day he’d just turned it off and never used it again – only for it to turn up some fifteen years later.
How often do you have that with a thought or an idea? All that thinking about something, only to switch off and forget about it.
Ideas aren’t physical things, such as minidisc players. If you lose them it’s much harder to get them back.
As a creative I always used to, annoyingly, have my best ideas when I wasn’t able to write.
The novels, the stories and the concepts that I’d come up with…usually when I was driving or in the gym…right at the time when my laptop was out of reach!
I used to think to myself – ‘I’ll come back to that idea when I get a sec’.
I never did though. Because the enthusiasm for the idea would disappear before I could touch methaphorical pen to metaphorical paper.
So now I carry a notepad with me at all times. So I’m never caught out. I can jot down my ideas whenever and wherever.
I think this is a better option that writing it on my phone. My phone is a bustling hub of distractions…and a big reason of ‘why I didn’t write today’.
I also invested in an expensive notepad. Not because I’m materialistic. But, because I figure that…the more I pay for something, the more naturally valuable it seems and the more likely I’ll be to use it.
Unlike that minidisc player, it’s unlikely that your ideas will come back to you. So have something with you at all times to note them down.
Before you know it, your notebook will become a goldmine of creativity.
I know it seems simple, obvious even, but yet so many people let their ideas slip away.
The writer Robert Louis Stevenson reckoned that ‘Treasure Island’ was born from a couple of dreams that he had.
He also remarked that, had he not have had a pen (or quill back then) by his bed, he’d have forgotten the idea before he could have converted it into a story.
Don’t let your ideas walk the plank…take note of them!
(image credit: wikipedia)