Staff Opinion: Carry a notebook to capture your moments of creative genius

By Sam Cushing | December 13, 2018 1:08pm

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Sam Cushing is a reporter for The Beacon.
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

I made the unfortunate choice to write this piece in a rush without the aid of the creative tool I’m about to describe. But for the purposes of vanity let’s say it was a clever way to demonstrate my point.

Carry a notebook.

Not a school book. Not any particular type of notebook. I use a simple one with a paper cover that fits in my back pocket. At its most basic level, this is your tool to capture the moments of creative genius that hit you like a train while you’re sitting on the bus or taking a shower. Often these sparks of inspiration fade, despite a true and honest intention to remember them. Memory is fickle, and the only way to capture these precious ideas is to write them down.

A common creative practice is to put a piece away for a while, before coming back and seeing your errors illuminated like a badly lit Christmas tree. When you give your brain time to think about anything else than what you’re working on, it lets you approach a project with fresh eyes. The same idea applies to your notebook: Have an idea, let your mind reset, see that it’s a bad one, rinse and repeat until you arrive at something truly magnificent. 

Writing in its most creative forms reflects real life. Authenticity comes when your audience can taste that latent connection to reality which makes your story worth telling. 

As I sit in the Anchor writing this, there’s a person across from me bobbing their leg as they look at their phone. The bobbing stops as they read what seems to be an important text. Such simple human details are often overlooked, but critically important. Now, that reaction has catalogued itself among the wealth of experience I can draw on to construct a half-decent written work.

Life is a busy mess and if you don’t carve out time for yourself to do what you love, you’re bound to go crazy. And when you finally do sit down to write, sculpt, draw or create in whatever way you do, your best ideas are a flip of the page away.

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