Don’t travel empty-handed

Always carry a notebook with you. You never know when you will come up with an idea. When an idea comes to you your notebook enables you to jot it down. You don’t have to write out a full essay many times a word, phrase or general gist of you idea will suffice. Though, good penmanship is helpful for ease of reading later. That said, the sole purpose of your note is to be a memory jog.

LogoSketch

A rough sketch idea for my logo

As you know, inspiration comes when you least expect it. Then, once back in your working environment the note(s) you jotted down will help recall the idea and you’ll get straight to work. Piece of cake!

If your inspiration is visual a quick sketch would do or, better yet, keep your camera on you always.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Visuals are useful when discussing theories. How many theories can you see, hear, touch or smell? You can’t because theories are ideas not tangible objects.

They are, however, best explained with instantly recognizable inanimate objects- usually irrelevant to the idea too. A classic example is Archimedes’ bathtub! He proved the theory of displacement where the volume of water spilled from the tub was equal to the volume of his body. You likely didn’t need my definition to the theory as you already have a visual of the overflowing tub in your mind. That is the power of visuals to recall your memory.

Standard Icons

Icons used in Microsoft Word

 

Computer software constantly uses visuals to explain theories. The purpose of the visuals (icons) is to humanize the program for the end user’s ease of use. For example, an icon represents the concept or command to open or close a program or document.

The standard icon used for the open/close command is a familiar inanimate object – an open/closed door or file folder. In reality, the computer “reads” the open or close commands as a Boolean to either start or stop the application.  But the file or door has more meaning to the person using the program.

Eye to eye with an Orca

Unusual light patterns from the sunlight through the water

Sydney Opera House

How many times have you seen an amazing view or sunset that moved you to dream?

Something that caught you by surprise? Take a picture and save it for a  future source of inspiration. The next time you look at the photo your memory of the experience will instantly come back to you.

Trip along the Great Ocean Road

The 12 Apostles

Whatever method you choose to record your thoughts or memory don’t criticize yourself as you are taking down the information. Your only focus should be getting the idea down on paper or onto your digital device (computer, phone, etc). As you do this other ideas or questions may pop into your head – record them too. The act of regularly gathering snippets of inspiration should weather you through the tougher times in future projects.

Long Beach, BC

An inspirational location for moods created by natural light effects and textures

 

Get into your comfort zone

Your writing environment is as important as the topic. A place that is comfortable, well-lit and preferably warm is most conducive to happy writing. A set working space is both a luxury and a liability. What happens when you get a block and you feel trapped in your space? Or worse, you’re expected to work away from your space?

Freelance writers are forced to work in many different environments – and rarely are they ideal. Therefore, writers-for-hire must create their space anywhere, instantly.

I use music to create my space. I have programmed several playlists with different music genres on my iPod. The variety is helpful for when I`m writing to different audiences, work environments as well as subject matter. Many times the music will put me straight back into my train of thought. I usually find acoustic or classical the most effective choice as the lyrics can be distracting when focusing on more complex documents.

Other writers choose a photo of their kids or family. While I even know of writers who prefer to write in an all night coffee shop chains. Special objects such as a charm or a special notebook and pen can be your muse.  If you prefer to keep a digital space, however, why not personalize your computer’s desktop? Both Mac and PC’s allow you to customize your desktop.