I Will Capture Ideas…

This is week two of exploring creativity with Eric Maisel (Deep Writing) and Kelly.

When I first thought of capturing ideas, hunting images came to mind… Sara tossing a newly caught vole in the air over and over again. Do ideas like being captured? Then I shook my head vigorously and tried to imagine cruelty free ways. Camera. Sketchbook. Cut and paste. Shopping. Hmmm.

On Wednesday, I prepared to spend the day at the Gardens where I do bookkeeping. I wanted to be sure that I had all of the materials to capture ideas in case any wandered by. First I got my camera and put it in my bag. Then my sketchbook. No, maybe my writing notebook. No, maybe my project notebook. Ahhhh. This is a problem. Too many notebooks.

A wise friend gave me a piece of advice many years ago regarding calendars and contacts and to-do lists: keep everything in one place. That was when I started using Daytimers. And I still do. I haven’t embraced the new technology yet… the phones that do everything but the dishes…palm pilots which, I guess by the title, navigate your whole life. I like paper and turning pages. Hence the too many notebooks. So how can I capture ideas in one place?


Suddenly I get an image of little animals all put into one cage. Do they like each other? Do they compete for food? Do they want to eat each other?

Well, I think ideas get along. In fact, I think they feed each other. This thought gives me courage to continue.

If I add some more dividers to my project notebook (which is what I use to organize my days), I can have pages for writing, pages for sketching and pages for pasting images that I find. But I like the cover on the writing notebook better. So I swap the pages. Then I pick it up.

Very heavy.

Can all of this carrying and capturing be fun? Is a big notebook intimate enough to travel everywhere I go? Or is it just for the car commuter or the stay-at-home worker bee? Somehow, I don’t see myself carrying this notebook on my long beach walks. And that’s when I get some of my best ideas. Maybe this goal of everything in one place is too utopian.

Pema Chodron talks about the illusion of finding the place beyond discomfort… a sort of permanent resting place. It doesn’t really exist. Nor does the perfect vehicle for capturing ideas. What matters is intention. And perhaps discipline.

My intention is to relish ideas and capture them. I’ll settle for two gathering places: the big notebook for home or travelling by car… the tiny, pocket sized notebook for travelling by foot or bicycle. And then, once a week, on my Stella Sunday Afternoons, I’ll look over my creatures and find good homes for them. Words can go into my “index of first lines” or “themes” file or my handmade lexicon. Sketches and images can go in the “discovery journal” that is full of visual inspirations. And the pictures on my camera…sort and file right away. This will be the discipline.

And then, I will have a veritable zoo of captured ideas. Simon and Garfunkel come to mind and I begin to hum…”someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo…I do believe it… I do believe it’s true…”

To see how Kelly is doing, find her blog here.

6 Thoughts

  1. Love the post! Looking forward to seeing your “Petite Note” filled to the brim with wild ideas!

  2. Love your post and Kelly’s, too. The two of you have created a great environment to help each other corral those ideas. I have been using a 5×8 Daytimer for more than 25 years. Several years ago I changed it to a 3 ring 5×8 so I could buy generic lined paper for it. It has all my contacts, passwords, user IDs,
    business ideas, creative ideas, sketches, inspirations, and a big blank section where I write what I want and then can file it behind the proper tab. It has worked great for home and long trips. It was stolen from our truck a while ago while on a trip along with a bunch of other stuff. I felt like there had been an amputation!
    Miraculously, my precious Daytimer turned up one day on the desk of the Director of a homeless shelter. He called me and it was sent back to me unmolested. I often wonder about the thief (or maybe a family member) and his/her decision to see that it found its way back to me.

    1. Thanks for your enthusiastic response, Judy! And what a great story about the return of your Daytimer. I often think about what would happen if my writing notebook, in particular, got taken. There are just some moments you can’t re-create. I’m glad your story ended happily.

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