The Pen and Paper Principle

As an old Chinese proverb goes: “The dullest pencil is better than the sharpest memory”. You may not entirely recall your brilliant ideas, but at least you’ll have a better stab at them if they are scrawled somewhere tangible.

Something that has helped me tremendously is just this simple. Keep a pen and paper (Or pencil if you prefer them) handy. A blackberry will do, or whatever you use that you can record your thoughts with easily and quickly. I’ve found that we forget things even epiphanies that we know will be life-altering. “Oh, I’ll remember that! It is perfect!” but lo and behold, you get home, and it has vanished like a humming-bird.

Even better, buy a notebook that is specifically for your ideas. Buy three. Keep one next to your bed (a pencil is best, for sleepy-eyes won’t be able to tell if the pen is actually writing or not!). Keep another in the kitchen, and a third in your car. (or maybe a small tape recorder is better for this. I have ‘voice notes’ on my phone, it seems that most of my good ideas come when I’m driving.)

It often matters far less what you write down, but that you actually write it. Sometimes the mere act of writing it solidifies an idea in your mind, so even if the slip of paper is lost or illegible, it helps.Sometimes, the mere act of having a pen and paper nearby. . . inspires.

Here is to remembering!


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