I carry a black moleskine notebook around with me wherever I go. I’ve got one in my car, one in my purse, and one at the office. While it makes me feel artistic and retro, it actually serves a purpose: helping me remember my ideas.
I am forgetful. I have a tendency to lose any stroke of genius (or any generic thought) I might have if I don’t write it down the SECOND it occurs to me. My coworkers have heard me say it a million times: “I had the GREATEST idea yesterday, and now I can’t remember it.” It is like my ideas come hurtling down the barrel of a gun with exponential speed and if I don’t have that paper there to catch it, that idea bullet will shoot away, never to be seen again. Call me Don Draper, but my ideas can’t survive without that little black moleskine. But I’ve noticed recently that I’ve got dozens of half thought out ideas written in my snazzy journal. So I had to wonder – what good do these half thought out ideas have?
I can’t lie, I review my notes often – each thought holds its own meaning, taking me back to a certain place or time. Some of my scribbles can’t be deciphered and some of my ideas are just plain stupid. But then, in the midst of chicken scratch and a doodle, a great idea is just sitting there, waiting for me to come back and look at it. Then, when I do, it sticks out like a sore thumb just waiting to turn into something else. And I love when this happens. It has resulted in a few new campaign tactics or sweet blog posts. But most of my ideas have been left untouched, as of yet.
Author and ad genius Luke Sullivan (he wrote a nice little ad book) helped me learn that an idea you had in 1997 can become the brain child behind your 2010 ad campaign – it just might take you a while to get there. Often, you have to let ideas mull. Great ideas are like a stew – it might take them a while, but after some time, you get something quite delicious and meaty (awesome analogy, eh?).
So keep everything. Be diligent in what you write down. You never know when that scribbled, scrawny note in your moleskine can take an ad or campaign from zero to 60. Here’s to hoping that my many moleskines will someday result in a Lemon.