3 Ways to Capture Your Ideas While on the Run

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Sometimes I sit down to brainstorm blog posts or new products or some sort of new campaign and my mind is blank…but when I’m sitting in a waiting room, I’m struck with inspiration and scrambling to capture my ideas. It may be an idea for a guest blog post to pitch or simply a way to share my next adventure with readers so I don’t want to lose any of those ideas. It is important to me to not forget them because I’m the type to dwell on knowing that I had an idea and promptly forgot what it was.


3 Ways to Capture Your Inspiration by Campfire Chic


You can’t plan out when inspiration will strike, but you can plan ahead so you’re ready to capture your ideas. Today, I am going to share three easy ways for you to capture your ideas while you are away from your desk/workspace.

Yellow legal pad

As a new fan of How I Met Your Mother, I was thrilled when Ted pulled out a yellow legal pad (and backup yellow legal pad) in P.S. I Love You in order to work out a big problem. Let’s start with the science behind using a yellow legal pad: studies show that color helps us remember things – hence why many teachers encouraged us to use colored index cards to make flash cards when we were younger. Having that pad available only for notes makes it part of a ritual or habit. You’ve set aside that specific thing for notes and brainstorming…don’t add your grocery list to it, it’ll throw things off. If you have a large enough bag, carry your legal pad with you and take it out when you reach the coffee shop just in case you have an idea and keep it handy while you work at home.

Go digital

Evernote and other apps are perfect for organizing your ideas. You are able to sync your accounts between devices so you can pull up that photo you took on your phone with your tablet. Evernote lets you organize voice recordings, text, and photos in handy folders so you can take a moment once a week to organize your thoughts and get things settled. By having an app that syncs, you don’t need to worry about forgetting your yellow legal pad at home – you probably have your phone or access to a computer most of the time, right? Another option? Email yourself! I do this all the time: I send myself a few emails with ideas for blog posts and open them up as I go and start drafting. I also send myself notes via email when I find articles online I want to share in an Essential Reading post. You’ll find my to do lists and deadline reminders in my inbox, as well.

Put it on your calendar

This works with paper and digital calendars, which is awesome. Say you come up with a few blog post ideas (5 ways to style a sparkly scarf, a dehydrated meal for backpacking, and a post showing off your recently decorated den) and don’t want to just write them down someplace to possibly be buried in your other amazing ideas (because your ideas are probably amazing, that’s why you have so many!). Plop those ideas onto your calendar ASAP. Use a pencil for your paper calendar if you’re like me and have issues committing to a finalized editorial calendar, or throw your ideas into your digital calendar and make it easy to move things around. Another tip: after you create the event in your digital calendar, add some notes to it! I like to outline some blog posts right away so I don’t forget where I was going with something (like 5 ways to live a more balanced life).


How do you capture inspiration when it strikes?
What do you do with your ideas once you’re able to sit down and evaluate things?

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Laura June 11, 2013, 5:45 am

    I used to be a notepad kinda girl, always, I had one in my bag and it was separated out into different sections. Then I found Evernote and I fell in love and haven’t gone back since! I still have a notepad at work, I take it into meetings and then as soon as I get back to my desk I add my action points to my to-do list (GTD style!). They key is to find one that works for you but don’t be afraid to adapt/change it if it’s no longer working for you or you find something that works better for you.

    • Kam June 14, 2013, 7:30 am

      I’m glad you’re still using GTD, it gives me hope that I can find a system that I will stick with! (grammar shrammar) I think I need to start smaller with Evernote and organize what I already have in there…I think I have a draft of a long-forgotten ebook buried in there someplace! YIKES!

      They key is to find one that works for you but don’t be afraid to adapt/change it if it’s no longer working for you or you find something that works better for you.

      Thank you for sharing that, it’s such a great reminder!

  • Angie June 11, 2013, 9:15 am

    I am, without a doubt, a pen and paper kinda girl HOWEVER I lose like… one pen per month, and I can’t keep track of papers, so when I’m out and about I just use Evernote which I’ve learned to l-o-v-e! I also brainstorm when I’m out. ;)

    • Kam June 14, 2013, 7:30 am

      I try to only use cheapie pens for that same reason! hahaha! I’m currently in my yellow-legal-pad and emailing-myself phase of note take and “organization”. It’s a mess, but it’s working for now :)

  • Jennifer C. June 11, 2013, 5:05 pm

    I love to collect those cute little notepads and shopping lists from dollar bins. I keep one next to my bed at all times, because I hate it when I think of something when I am trying to go to sleep. You know you will stay up all night if you don’t write it down just because you don’t want to forget it.

    I use a paper dayplanner (Franklin Covey-2 page daily) system that I use when I am up during the day. It has a note section that I write down all of everything (including about the weather) on.

    I sit down at least once a month to go through and file those ideas in my idea filing cabinet/bucket. It is a plastic filing bin (from Walmart) that has hanging file folders in it labeled by topic. I then use that when I am in need of some inspiration for whatever I am working on.

    • Rachel June 12, 2013, 6:51 am

      That’s absolutely brilliant! I’ve been trying to find a cheap way to contain my chaotic notes–but I couldn’t think of something that wouldn’t take up a ton of room. A bin with hanging file folders would fit in a cabinet and be out of the way, but easy to get to! Thanks so much for sharing, Jennifer! And thanks, Kam, for another awesomely inspiring post!

      • Kam June 14, 2013, 7:34 am

        It really does sound like a great idea! I need to get into the habit of not putting multiple ideas (like dinner plans, blog post ideas, and to do lists) on the same page so I can do something like that, too.

    • Kam June 14, 2013, 7:32 am

      Those are the perfect notepads! Especially the ones that are magnetic so I can keep one on the fridge and I always know it’s there :D I haven’t used a dayplanner since college (where I had the one that is broken down by THE HOUR) but I’m sure I’ll be checking out the Franklin Covey ones someday when I’m busy ;)

      I want to know more about your filing system! Do you have a blog post about it?

  • Trina Curran June 11, 2013, 7:28 pm

    I loved this post. :) I have so many dang notebooks that I keep ideas in that I have to think of which one I put it in. So now I’m going to get a yellow legal pad. Ha. And I’ll have one more place!

    • Kam June 14, 2013, 7:33 am

      Ha! The color of the paper will really help and I’m a strong believer that if you do something different than you normally would, it helps you remember things…so I use cursive with my writing on the pads because I normally type things out during the day but when I write it’s usually printing…so using the colored paper+cursive REALLY helps things stick in my mind :D


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