Why You Should Always Carry a Notebook
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to spark creativity. Srinivas Rao is the host of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast which focuses on branding, storytelling, and marketing. He wrote this post for Medium answering the age old question, Why You Should Always Carry a Notebook.
"There isn’t one prolific creator of any kind that I know that hasn’t abided by the policy of carrying a notebook. I have stacks of Moleskine notebooks on my bookshelves. All the projects, books, and ideas that I’ve turned into reality started in the pages of my notebooks.
- If you let it, a notebook can become a platform for your imagination.
- It can give you the opportunity to rewrite the story of your life.
- It can enable you to create more than you consume
In his amazing collection of essays The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit, my friend AJ Leon says the following:
I use a tiny Moleskine as my idea notebook. I jot down every business idea, prospect idea, project idea, potential blog post, poem, art or social project, whatever. Every single thing I’ve done in the last four years can be traced to one of my notebooks.
In his piece on advice for recent graduates, Austin Kleon said the following:
Richard Branson carries a notebook.
Ryan Holiday has written about the value of a commonplace book.
If you’ve ever met Sarah Kathleen Peck in person, she’s always scribbling something in a notebook. (You can see her process below in this animated short)
Ideas Emerge at Odd Times
Like falling in love, moments that announce themselves as your subject are rare, and there’s a magic to them. Ignore them at your own peril- Dani Shapiro
If you haven’t noticed, ideas don’t always show up according to our schedule. The muse is a fickle mistress who makes appearances at her own convenience.
- Ideas emerge when we’re at dinner and someone says something
- Ideas emerge when we’re at the gym, surfing the perfect wave or flying down a mountain on a snowboard
- Ideas emerge when you’re sitting in LA traffic wondering why the hell anybody in their right mind would voluntarily drive in this city
If you’re going to consistently come up with ideas to write about or do something with, you have to be able to capture them regardless of when they show up.
Ideas don’t show up fully formed
Ideas are like babies. They don’t show up in our lives fully formed. They need time to bake, grow and evolve. They have to be nurtured and care for. When we don’t put them down in our notebooks, it’s like letting our kids play in traffic in the middle of a busy intersection.
Notebooks are fertile soil for creative seeds
Creative success requires us to plant seeds and play the infinite game. A notebook is fertile soil in which you can plant those seeds. While you could plant the same seeds on your computer, just think of all the other seeds that have been planted there. The likelihood of the seed bearing fruit in a digital wasteland is lessened.
In a recent article Benjamin P. Hardy said the following.
Your thoughts are the blueprint of the life you are building one day at a time. When you learn to channel your thinking — both consciously and subconsciously — you create the conditions that make the achievement of your goals inevitable.
In his book Presentation Zen, Garry Reynold tells the following story about visiting a designer at Apple
I always write by hand before I ever turn on my computer. It allows you to limit the inflow, and there’s tremendous power to pen and paper in an increasingly digital world.
What Should You Put in the Notebook?
Sometimes people get tripped up because they have no idea what they’ll put in their notebooks. Other times they don’t want to ruin something as beautiful as a Moleskine with their chicken scratch. But as Amber Rae once said to me “Fall in love with your chicken scratch. Accumulate pages not judgments.”
Any of the following can be put into your notebook.
The surprisingly simple act of carrying a notebook can change your life and allow you to become the author of your narrative.