When Using an Idea Journal, Give your Ideas Room to Grow

Many creativity experts recommend carrying some system for recording ideas with you wherever you go. My tool of choice is a Moleskine notebook, which serves as my portable idea journal. But I just learned a new technique to get more out of it.

Many creativity experts recommend carrying some system for recording ideas with you wherever you go. My tool of choice is a Moleskine notebook, which serves as my portable “idea journal.” But I just learned a new technique to get more out of it. Typically, I will record lists of related ideas in bulleted form on one page of my notebook. But according to Ed Bernacki, author of the new mini-book, I am an Idea Factory, you need to give your fledgling ideas enough room to grow. That’s why he recommends only recording one idea per page.

He compares an idea to a painting. Over a period of days or weeks, the artist focuses all of his or her creativity on the canvas, adding color, texture, detail and nuance to it. It’s a gradual process, which relies heavily on one’s creative “flow.” Some artists, he says, work on several pieces at one time, moving between canvases depending upon where their energies and creativity are flowing at the moment. And so it is with ideas:

“Consider each page as a working canvas for one idea. Move between ideas until one is ready, then act!”

He appears to be suggesting an approach that I had never really thought about: Record one idea per page in your journal, capturing any details on paper that are in your mind at the time. Then, return to it days or weeks later to review it. You then have an opportunity to look upon each idea with fresh eyes, and add more color, detail and nuance to those that inspire you, much like an artist does. And because you have only recorded one idea per page, you have plenty of room to record these additional thoughts and insights. That’s an important distinction!

So how do you record your ideas? Do they have enough room to grow and develop? Do you have a system for reviewing and nurturing them on a regular basis? If not, now is the time to improve your idea collection and review process, so it can deliver bigger and better results for you!

By Chuck Frey

About the author

Chuck Frey Senior Editor, founded InnovationTools.com and served as its publisher from its launch in 2002 until the partnership with Innovation Management in 2012. He is the publisher of The Mind Mapping Software Blog, the definitive souce for news, trends, tips and best practices for visual mapping tools. A journalist by trade, Chuck has over 14 years of experience in online marketing, and over 10 years experience in business-to-business public relations. His interests include creative problem solving, visual thinking, photography, business strategy and technology. His unique combination of experience and influences enables him to envision new possibilities and opportunities.

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