Weekly Creativity Kick-Start: Tracking Inspiration


Tracking inspiration is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have quality ideas for a creativity kick-start when your flow is feeling low and slow. With a busy life, inspiration often visits you at what I like to call the “in-between” times; during a walk, shower or while you drift off daydreaming over lunch. So before the “creative tingles” float off, what tools do you use to make sure you capture its essence?


With so many high-tech AND low-tech tools to choose from, it’s not about picking the best one according to the everyone else. It’s about picking the right one for how your creative spirit works. One of the best ways to find out your idea tracking sweet spot is to reflect on how you process information.

Inspiration and Creativity-Friendly Tools


Do you think in words or pictures or both? How about physical tingles and gut reactions, are they big clues for you? Then find a system that will let you mind map, doodle, take notes or pictures or capture how you are feeling. What about voice recording? Do you like to make notes to yourself as you commute or take a walk so you can talk in a more stream-of-consciousness way?


I personally think in pictures but take down notes in words. This helps me clearly remember the original seed of an idea, but then I can revisit it and see where it wants takes me next, instead of mapping out the whole thing at first glance. This offers so much more creative freedom. When I nail down all the details right away, it seems like I’m squashing bigger possibilities. I like to “feel” into where an idea is taking me next. That’s the whole point of creative flow for me – watching where it wants to go.


My ideas for blog posts, for example, are stored in a simple, no-frills document file that I refer to as needed. This way when I’m having a healthy flow of brainstorming, I can capture a ton of ideas at once and pull from them when I’m preparing for my scheduled writing days. Not only does it take the pressure off trying to come up with an idea when I’m not in the mood, but it can spawn other ideas and help me track inspirational themes.



Tracking Suggestions for Creative Inspiration 


As for specific tools that work well for me, I use a lot of Google products including Google Drive and Google Keep on my phone (for notes and ideas on the go). I also use several more tactile tools, like my trusty pile of recycled paper bits on my desk for emergency notes as well as my paper calendar. I rely on mind mapping with the old school pen and paper when I’m doing more big picture planning for my clients or Creative Katrina. Other people I know swear by Evernote (it handles every type of media), or a simple text editor document that they leave open on their console as they work throughout the day.


Here are a few tech-focused options you might find work well for your creative process, featured on LifeHack.


Life is life. It throws you curve balls, becomes insanely busy at the most inopportune times and can sometimes distract you enough that you forget you are a creative being, not a task-master machine. But only you can choose to change that mindset and find a way to track all the genius that visits you throughout the day, because it’s always there.


What tools to do you use to capture your creative fire in real time?


Photo credit: Michael, Seth Waite