Inspiration is one of those things that cannot be controlled. The same comes with creativity, sometimes you just need that spark that get's you going, that will ultimately help you to solve a problem.
Unfortunately you can't just buy inspiration in a can and be done with it. The problem is that it will hit you most likely when you are not ready for it. So you need to prepare for that moment.
Let me share with you some of my favorite ways to capture creative moments and how to curate it throughout the day and beyond. This might sound very basic, but have you tried recording yourself elaborating an idea or an elevator pitch? Could be suprising that at first you don't like your own voice. But to the problem at hand - how to capture inspiration in an un-opportune moment:
Ever woke up in the middle of the night and just had the best idea to fix a problem you've been thinking about for days? You smile and go back to sleep, content with your idea and yourself. You wake up and you can't remeber a thing. Sounds familiar? It happened to me a lot of times before I finally started to take action and value those ideas and thoughts that come at an unusual time completely out of context.
- Use the power of your smartphone
Although science tells us to ban everything from TVs to smartphones from our bedroom (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11384714/Banish-smartphones-and-computers-from-bedroom-to-get-a-good-sleep-say-scientists.html) I've met few people who actually live by that credo - e.g. I simply turn it on Flight-Mode so I rest peacefully but still are able to use it asap during the night. Most smartphones come with a camera, an audio recorder and a note app, that let's you record almost anything at anytime in the desired format. Depending on your style of learning and remembering you might use the camera (most likely during broad daylight) to curate a poster, a nice idea for a present or just a snapshot of your office whiteboard if you don't trust your cleaning service or colleagues for that matter. Through a variety of cloud services you can upload that photo (also automatically) to your preferred service and use it later on any other devices, in case your battery just went out, you lost your phone or it's simply in the other room and you are to lazy to move... my preferred applications include the iCloud, Evernote, Dropbox or as an Amazon Prime member the Amazon cloud, which by the way grants you unlimited storage for pictures when you are a prime member.
Sometimes people don't like to type on smartphones or it needs to be quick sowhy not turn to your integrated audio recorder? Want to quickly elaborate an idea that would take to long to write down, you need to take meeting minutes of a 2 hour meeting or you just got an idea for a melody in your head that needs to get out, just press "record". The sound quality of the microphoes within the everyday smartphones are amazing these days and you can easily share those files without any editing or cutting. Just make sure that everybody in the room agrees to be recorded otherwise it may cause some legal trouble. You can also use it to record yourself while practicing a presentation (in addition with video recording) to see how it will sound and if you get the right pitch, tone, mood etc.
Use the notes app on your phone. Pretty basic, you got an empty page and can type anything, copy, paste or put a link here and there. If you are into typing, this app is for you. I use this especially in the night or on the go when I want to curate a quick thought or just want to remind myself later on a topic or an item that I wanted to pick up. I also keep most of my notes and do not delete them, because sometimes they may be forgotten or become more relevant over time. It is a great way to communicate with yourself and make good use of your phone when pen and paper are not around.
- Use the power of handwriting
If you are used to carry a bag, rucksack or any other kind of mobile transportation device you might just have enough room for a small notebook and pen. As easy as it might be to use your phone as described above, I found out that actually writing things down with pen and paper helps to naturally remember things better. I use my notebook to doodle around or for learning. Doodling is important because it helps you to embrace creativity and not really think about all the things, so the brain does that for you without you noticing. I also observed that I learn much better, when I write things down or copy them from my notes. It helps to really get things down. Try to use your own words and style of presentation with the given information, it really helped me a lot studying like this, whether it was for an exam or a work related presentation. Since you are also able to take a picture with your phone anyway of what you are drawing, it would be also available anywhere you want.
- Use the power of people
Sometimes I encounter thoughts or ideas that I'm not really sure of if they are really that good or if they would work. So the best thing to do is talk about your idea with someone. Again, your phone might become handy here, just call up one of your trusted friends and get some unrelated feedback or new perspectives. This is in general a good thing, especially when you look for advise. That doesn't mean you should call somebody in the middle of the night about a new idea on how to make a new kind of soup, but curate your thought and then discuss it later. But do talk about it. I also like to call my best friend up and just brainstorm on a topic. When people know you, they usually know exactly how you think and how to de-rail your train of thought. They challenge you to think differently about your idea to make it bullet proof or discard it.
This is just some very rudamentary advice how you could make better use of inspiration and sudden creativity. What is your secret to curate a great idea and to memorize it later on? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!