Did you read Alice in Wonderland? Do you remember this passage?
“The horror of that moment, I shall never, never forget!” – the King.
“You will, though,” the Queen replies, “if you don’t make a memo of it.”
Even the Queen knew to jot thoughts when they’re hot.
I’ll always be grateful to former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones for showing me why it’s every writer’s job to ink it when we think it.
Hall of Fame speaker Dewitt, (who lives part-time in Hawaii and can be found online at www.DewittJones.com), and I were enjoying a walk/talk along a Maui beach discussing the topic of intuition.
What is intuition? Where does it come from? Why are those intuitive nudges never wrong? How can we capitalize on them?
Dewitt was doing something that puzzled me. We’d go about 100 yards and Dewitt would stop, whip out a little notebook and pen from his pocket and write something down. We’d go another couple hundred yards and Dewitt would stop and scribble something else down. He kept doing this until I finally asked, “Dewitt, what are you doing?”
He said, “Sam, I used to get ideas and think, ‘That’d be an interesting tidbit for my next column,’ or ‘I’ve got to include that in my keynote tomorrow,’ but then I’d get caught up in other things and forget all about it.
“I realized I make my living from my mind and I was throwing away these golden insights that were being gifted to me. I promised myself I’d start writing down ideas the moment they occurred to me so I wouldn’t lose them. Now, it’s become a habit.”
How many times have you gotten an intuitive flash—a whisper of an idea—and then gone about your day and forgotten it?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in 20 years of writing and speaking about the fascinating topics of innovation and creativity, it’s that THIS is how our best thoughts occur. They POP! into our mind. And if we don’t write them down in the moment, they disappear or get drowned out by other things competing for our attention.
From now on, realize that if you want to make your living from your mind, you need to record those flashes of brilliance in a notebook you carry with you everywhere so you can explore their potential later.
Carry a digital recorder, call yourself on your cell phone and leave a message, DO SOMETHING to capture those ideas before they fade away. Remember, they don’t call ‘em fleeting thoughts for nothing.
Authors know if we’re fortunate enough to be gifted with a revelation, it’s our responsibility to write it down. We may not know where this idea, thought seed or phrase fits into our work. We just trust that it will.
Our greatest minds, from Einstein to Mozart, have understood and honored the power of the “muse.” As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Learn to watch the gleams of light which flash across the mind from within.”
I call this, “Muse it or lose it.”
When you take the time to record ideas as they occur to you, they will be there waiting for you days, months, years later when you’re ready for them. You will have captured those gleams of insight and will be in a position to capitalize on them (and set up SerenDestiny in the process.)
As Saul Bellow said, “I never had to change a word of what I got up in the middle of the night to write.”
From now on, INK those thoughts when you THINK ’em so you MUSE ’em instead of LOSE ’em.