I keep private (unpublished) posts in my sites for making notes like this. I always know where they are and they are in the place I will (eventually) use them. At some point I found PressForward as a way to link to the source of my inspiration and make my own notes to go along with it.
You may have noticed that there’s been something of a resurgence in journaling lately. If you’re ever on Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube, you may have seen people who keep “bullet journals” — Ryder Carroll’s name for an originally simple set of ways to keep lists and notes.
Some people’s bullet journals are Instagram masterpieces, with color-coded tracking systems, calligraphy flourishes for every day, and “spreads” showing impeccably illustrated weekly grocery lists.
In my experience, creative people need journals. They’re the greenhouses where we grow ideas. And the laboratories where we practice fiendish experiments.
My (very ugly) bullet journal has to-do lists, project notes, content plans for the blog and the podcast, thoughts about habits, thoughts about my business, quotes, doodles, sketches, workout notes, the recurring script for my podcast intro, product ideas, call notes, grand ideas for the future, and all manner of lists.
If you keep a journal like this digitally, and you haven’t tried paper for a while … allow me to suggest that you try it out. There’s something deeply creatively satisfying about an actual object stuffed with ideas — a collection of digital notes just doesn’t spark the same excitement.
A creative journal is a place to capture the sparks that float past. It’s a space to experiment, plan, or just goof around. It’s a home for random thoughts and interesting brainworms. It’s where you store dreams that scare you a little.
Flip through your journal sometimes. (You’ll find yourself doing that automatically when you need a content idea or think of a use for that reference note.)
Those social media phrases you’re finding from our first prompt? Copying them into a blank book would be a great way to kick off a new journal.
A final word on keeping a journal: We might need a word for the folks who keep them, but that word is not journalist. I know I am old-fashioned, but I’m clinging to that one for my friends and colleagues who went to journalism school, have put their time in for lousy pay under intense deadlines, and who have the job of defending democracy from charlatans and lunatics.