The single distinguishing factor that sets creative people apart from others is that they respect the intuitions, ideas, insights and attention snags that emerge from the tumbling ocean of thought that flows through every mind. Less creative people have the same living depths inside; they too have moments of insight and intuition, but they let them pass.
An idea is like a wave breaking out deep into our consciousness, it doesn’t stay too long. It might, sometimes, return and insist upon our attention but more often, if we want to catch it, we must wait like a child with a bucket at the edge of the ocean, attentive to the ebb and flow. If we don’t scoop it up, it recedes, sucked back into the deep.
Creative people have developed their skills of observing, catching and conserving. They also have favoured containers with which to catch and hold their ideas, inspirations and intuitions: sketchpads, notepads, tablets, phones, paper napkins or cigarette packs…
Capturing and conserving practices can be taught to young children, to high school students, to top executives, to anyone by providing some simple training and the right materials.
Some of my favourite capturing tools, aside from my notebook and F-R-E-E-writing notebook of course:
While Walking or Running: Smartphone with Evernote. I can tag my notes and keep them organized rather than having to fish through notes later — or worse, read my impossible scrawl ( made worse by F-R-E-E Writing), as I had to in the notebook-and-pen days.
For the Shower or Bath: Scuba Slate, simple but effective.
While Reading Online: Evernote Clipper for Chrome. I also like Instapaper, which lets me highlight and clip only parts of pages,
While In Bed: Night Writers so nobody wakes up and disturbs the ideas.