"You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write." - Saul Bellow
I agree with Saul Bellow. THE biggest takeaway from 17 years of emceeig the Maui Writers Conferenc and connecting with some of the most inpsiring creatives on the planet - from Ron Howard to Carrie Fisher to Mitch Albom - was this: INK IT WHE YOU THINK IT.
Ideas that "occur" to us are often at their purest. If we don't write them down in the moment, they're out of sight, out of mind. Literally and figuratively.
I'll always remember walking a Maui beach with National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones who demonstrated how important is it to jot thoughts when they're hot.
Dewitt delivered a world class TEDx talk and was one of our keynoters at MWC. He and I were enjoying a walk/talk on Wailea Beach discussing the topic of intuition. What is it? Where does it come from? How can we leverage it and put it to good use?
Dewitt was doing something that puzzled me. We’d go about 100 yards and he'd stop, whip out a little notebook and pen from his pocket and write something down. We’d walk on and then he'd stop again and scribble something else down. I finally asked, “Dewitt, what are you doing?”
He said, “Sam, I used to get ideas and think, ‘That’d be an interesting topic for my next column,’ or ‘I should include that in my keynote,’ but then I’d get caught up in other things and forget all about it.
I realized I make my living from my mind and I was throwing away this golden material that was being gifted to me. No excuse. I promised myself I’d start writing down ideas the moment they occurred so I wouldn’t lose them. Now, it’s become a habit.”
How many times have you gotten an intuitive flash – a whisper of an idea – and then gone about your day and forgotten it?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in twenty years of writing and speaking about intrigue; it’s that this is how our most innovative insights occur. If you want to make the most of them, you mustcapture them in the moment. Why is this so important? Because epiphanies are in their purest form in their original form.
You don't have to understand where they come from; all you have to do is honor them.
The way to do that is to carry a notebook with you wherever you go and download the OTTER.AI app which provdes a free voice recorder and instant wirtten transcirption.
(Side note: My clients use Otter.ai to "write" their book when they wake up in the middle of night with an inspiration, and when the ideas are flowing out of their brain so fast their fingers can't keep up. It's a Godsend because it captures their voice and they don't have to wait for "spare time" to write, they "write" via Otter.ai right in the midst of their busy life.)
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Learn to watch that gleam of light which flashes across the mind from within." Don't just "watch" that gleam of light, RECORD IT OR WRITE IT DOWN. When your brain is on fire, capture those cerebral sparks so you can fan them later.
I call this, "Muse it or lose it."
Please understand, your life is your lab. When you experience something that gets your eyebrows up (a sure sign of intrigue); understand it will get other people's eyebrows up. If you want what you say to be more interesting; it is your job to notice what intrigues you.
When something "comes to your attention," it means it's out of the ordinary, it broke through your brain's screen. It's worth exploring this thread that is standing out of life's quilt. You may not know where this insight will fit into your work, just trust that it will.
Recoring your aha's and sharing them with others makes life even more meaningful and purposeful. Your observations, experieces and stories are no longer limited to you, they're out in the world adding value for others.
The only rule? If you're fortunate enough to be gifted with a revelation, it’s your responsibility to record it. If you don’t, the muse gets ticked. She thinks, "I'm giving you gold here and you don't appreciate it enough to to write it down? I'm outta here."
The good news? When you take time to record insights the second they occur, they'll be there waiting for you days, months later when you’re ready for them. You'll have captured those gleams of light from within and you'll be in a position to scale their impact - for good.
From now on, keep the Creative’s Contract:
Make your life your lab.
Ink it when you think it.
Muse it so you don't lose it.
Jot thoughts when they're hot.
You'll never regret capturing and sharing what intrigues you; you'll only regret NOT doing it and losing the opportunity to make the world a more intriguing place for you and for others.
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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker is on a mission to help people create quality projects that add value for all involved. Her books - POP!, IDEApreneur, Tongue Fu! and Got Your Attention? - have been featured in NY Times, Forbes, and on NPR, and presented to Capital One, NASA, Cisco, ASAE, YPO and Boeing, Want to work with Sam or have her keynote your convention? Contact Cheri@intrigueAgency.com