the capture

The other night I went for an 8.4km walk with a friend of mine. She’s the kind of friend that is so great she makes an 8.4km walk feel like a breeze. She’s the kind of friend that is so great that I still have pleasant thoughts about her greatness when my legs feel like jelly the next day.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that she’s great and great at walking.

And she is great at life, which is why I like walking and talking with her. Every sentence that came out of her mouth I wanted to jot down in my journal. I told her that too. I mean, I’d probably feel like an idiot power-walking under street lights with a note pad in one hand and a pen in the other. But I loved hearing what she had to say, and I don’t want to forget.

We are pretty good at forgetting, us human types. Ever had a marvellous idea in the middle of the night, only to forget it the next morning?

Ever had a marvellous idea in the middle of the night, wrote it down on a piece of paper, only to wake up and have no idea what you’ve written down means?

Another friend of mine once woke up to find “Acrobat’s Garden” scribbled down on a piece of paper beside her bed. I would have loved to have known the idea that inspired that. So would she, actually. All she can remember is that, in the early hours of the morning, it was vitally important that she get it down on paper.

Another time, she woke to find this.

Apparently we aren’t so great at remembering because we aren’t so good at the process of ‘capture’. Prodigal John of Stuff Christians Like fame tweeted the following a few days back: ‘Elaborate on capture? The average person “loses” 10 good ideas for every one they actually record/capture and build on

Now I don’t know where he gets this fact from, or how one goes about measuring all these lost ideas, but I trust that this is true. I’m very trusting you see.

I’ve also lost way too many good ideas, good stories, good thoughts, good sentences because I think I will remember and I don’t, and I’d like to believe I am not the only one.

Driving home from work today, my brain was having a wonderful conversation with itself and I wanted in. Actually I wanted out. I wanted the conversation to be out of my head and in a format that I could keep and remember and expand on when my hands weren’t stuck to a steering wheel and my eyes focusing on the road.

I pulled out my iPhone and stuck the voice recorder on. I opened my mouth, quite sure the words swirling from brain cell to brain cell would happily float out from behind my teeth and into the phone.

Alas, it wasn’t to be and I ended up blabbering to myself about how lame I felt talking into a voice recorder in my car and how I was so annoyed that you couldn’t capture thoughts in thought format and that I probably wasn’t very good at writing because whenever I reread my diary I realise how much I sound like a  sorrowful teenager. I don’t know why I was being so harsh on myself about the whole diary thing, I think I was just annoyed.

It was kinda funny to listen back to though, and I’ve decided I definitely want to try and use the voice recorder more – if only to have something amusing to listen to later on.

————

I have really been thinking about the issue of ‘idea capture’, and how I want to get better at it.

Another friend, different to my walking friend and my midnight scribbler friend, helped me make something really cool yesterday. I was trying to figure out how to save the small forest I waste each week in To-Do Lists when an idea popped into my head. ”A whiteboard!’, I exclaimed.

So off to the stationary cupboard I went, desperate for a whiteboard right then and there. When no whiteboard materialised, my friend made me a whiteboard by laminating an A3 sheet of paper. Actually, she laminated four A3 sheets of paper and now I have four whiteboards.

One has a list of design briefs on it. Another has notes about our website. The third is my daily To-Do List. And the fourth?

The fourth has ‘Idea Catcher’ scribbled across the top.

Now, everytime I have a great idea, a good idea, or even an average idea, I put it on the ‘Idea Catcher’ board. In the past day, I’ve had many more ideas that I thought possible. Half my ‘whiteboard’ is now covered in blue whiteboard marker.

To be honest, I’m sure I will read over some of the ideas next week and think ‘Well Laura, let’s be honest, that was a waste of ink’. But maybe I won’t. And at least now I have captured them on paper.

I’m very sure you’ve had a good idea today. In fact, I’m very sure you’ve had more than one. Have you snatched it up and stored it for later, when you have enough time/energy/caffeine to process it through?

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