Creators, Protect Your Thoughts

Notebooks are like condoms. You should always carry one just in case. Unless you don’t mind the consequences of fleeting ideas.

I believe there is a lot of creative work that could exist and a lot of business ideas that would have been fire if only people hadn’t forgotten them.

I can’t tell you how many times I had thoughts so beautiful and ideas so great that I knew I wouldn’t forget. But then I did.

Or,  how many  times I’ve  woke up in the middle of the night with “the answer.” But it wasn’t because I didn’t remember it the next day.

I’m not the only one who’s dealt with this.  I know I’m not. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten wiser about protection. I stay strapped up.

Now, I have paper everywhere. By my bed, in all my bags, in the car, there are notebooks or pad. I even have a miniature keyring notebook for quickies on-the-go.

Maturity and wisdom have led me to value my thoughts differently, viewing those that are lost as real losses. And, to me, losses equal missed opportunities.

All great things begin as ideas. Every single thing that has ever impressed me or you started as a simple thought that someone bothered to remember and develop.

Paper protects me from losing potentially valuable thoughts to bad memory. My brain is an excellent tool. It’s definitely one of my best assets. And I’ve certainly made more money from my brain than from my body. But my brain is not a grade-A storage facility.

To be honest, when it comes to remembering things, especially in a timely manner, I barely earn a C.  A lot of people don’t want to be associated with bad memory because it’s one of those things linked to old age.

I’m not old, but I’m not so young and dumb that I’m going to try to rely on my memory either. There are too many moving parts and far too much going on in my head.

And the same is true for a lot of you. Please don’t lie to yourself. There’s nothing to gain. Make it habit to keep a notebook handy.

Because as Steven Pressfield explains in theWarofArt, creative work is a gift to the world. If you don’t make your contribution, you cheat every person in it.

Possession Isn’t Enough

Some people aren’t comfortable pulling out the latex. Some think they’re too cool to be safe or too smart to need condoms. People make these same mistakes with thier notebooks.

A lot of people don’t have the guts to whip out a notebook and jot down thoughts when and where they occur. They’re too concerned about what others will think or the attention it can attract. So, they still try to rely on memory until they get to place where they feel comfortable writing.

Then there’s the issue of discipline and fighting the tendency to procrastinate. Instead of stopping that Z-Trak midway down the lawn, you tell yourself you’ll jot down your idea once you’re finished cutting the grass.

Or, instead of sitting up, turning on the light and writing down your late night thoughts, you lay there making excuses about not wanting to wake your spouse, kid or dorm mate.

But remember this: Protection is only effective if you use it at the right time.

Just having a notebook handy is not enough. Write it when you think it–at a bar, in the car, standing in line, wherever.