The most frustrating part of any creative process BY FAR is simply getting the ideas out of your head. You’re getting creative, you’re getting tons of great ideas, and eventually you realize that so many of those ideas are slipping away because you didn’t write them down. But how are you supposed to write them down? Do you hope that quickly scrawled words will be enough to jog your memory? Do you draw pictures to perfectly capture every idea? Do you map out and organize your entire thought process? Even just trying to decide how to best record your thought is overwhelming enough to bring the creative process to a halt. That’s why it’s imperative that artists understand how to record ideas. I’ve tried out a LOT of different ways to record ideas, so today I’m sharing the best 3 tips that I’ve discovered:
- You Don’t Have to Know All the Answers
For me, one of the most paralyzing things about recording my ideas was that I didn’t know where it would fit into the piece as a whole. I’d have an image in my mind, but if I didn’t know how it fit into the story yet, I just couldn’t figure out how (or where) to write it down. What I needed to remember is that it’s more important to just get the idea down on paper than to try to record it perfectly. You can always organize later, but an idea that slipped away usually can’t be recovered.
- Keep it Fluid
However you decide to record ideas, make sure that your system allows for changes. As you keep creating and coming up with new thoughts, you’re going to want to make changes – changes that will probably better the piece as a whole. You may even want to entirely redesign your piece. So give yourself room to change whatever needs to be changed, big or small. My favorite solutions are to make notecards that you can move around or type your ideas out in a Google Doc that can be edited.
- Not Every Idea is Recorded the Same
I wanted to say here: Don’t Get Stuck in the Details. But the truth is, sometimes the details are incredibly important – it just depends on the idea. If you can just scribble down your idea on a piece of paper, then definitely do that; it will save you more time to spend on other ideas. But if you feel like your idea needs a little bit more attention, then maybe it does! It really just depends on how well you think you’ll remember the idea, or how well you’re going to need to communicate it with someone. If I have a really specific idea about a shot for a film, I know that I’ll need to communicate that with my collaborators and I may take the time to draw it out or even shoot some practice footage. But that doesn’t mean that I need to go to those lengths for every idea – most of the time, just a basic understanding is all you need!
Ultimately, the best way to record ideas is something you have to discover for yourself. And if my experience is correct, you can only discover it by getting creative and practicing recording your ideas in all the WRONG ways first. So there’s nothing left to do but get creating!