How to Collect and Store Your Creative Ideas

Hi and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs blog.  Today I’m talking about elusive, you’ve gotta-be-quick-to-catch-them, creative ideas.  As you know, creative ideas can come at any time, they aren’t choosy about when they arrive.  It’s not like you can send out a meeting request for a 10am catchup and they’ll be there.  You can’t rely on a creative idea happening at the exact time you need it.  So that begs the question, how do you manage them?  How do you capture them when they do arrive?  Well, today’s blog post is going to explore this further, because we’re looking at How to Collect and Store your Creative Ideas.

Succulent drawing by Chrissie Murphy Designs
This is my latest drawing for Copics in the Tropics, a beautiful green, plump and juicy succulent.

You are an Explorer!

Ok, first and foremost, you need to begin thinking of yourself as an Explorer.

In Keri Smith’s book “How to be an Explorer of the World” she says, “You are an Explorer.  Your mission is to document and observe the world around you as if you’ve never seen it before.  Take notes.  Collect things you find in your travels.  Document your findings.  Notice patterns.  Copy.  Trace.  Focus on one thing at a time.  Record what you are drawn to.

This is the best advice I have ever found for preparing yourself to collect creative ideas.  You are an Explorer and it’s a mission.  When you understand that it’s through exploring that you open yourself up to creative ideas happening, you will be unstoppable when you get a sense that a creative idea is within grasp.

Quote by Keri Smith
Quote by Keri Smith from “How to be an Explorer of the World”

Arm yourself with a Notebook!

To be an Explorer and a collector of creative ideas, you have to arm yourself with a notebook, or your phone if you’re a techy kinda girl like yours truly.  You have to document your day.  (Here’s a tip:  The DayOne App is a great way to do this.)

When you do, you will find that you are recording patterns, you are recording things you’re drawn to, strings you see and tangleations. You are recording your thoughts or things that provoke you, you’re photographing things more and you are documenting your conversations with the Creator.

Believe me when I say the more you do it, the more natural it becomes.  Nothing gets past you because you have made a conscious shift in your mindset to see the world through the eyes of an Explorer.  Because you are seeing things with a fresh set of eyes every time, you’re inquisitive. If you open up dialogue with the Creator and begin asking Him the how’s and why’s of your discoveries, He will reveal so much more to you, creative ideas for tangling will begin to come.

“How to be an Explorer of the World” by Keri Smith
A creatively inspiring book by Keri Smith, “How to be an Explorer of the World”

You’ve gotta get out there

Having said that, you can’t be an Explorer if you don’t move. You’ve got to get out there!  One of the biggest blocks to creativity is being in a rut, doing the same thing, day in, day out.  You’ve got to shake things up, change routines and get out there.  This might mean going for a walk a few times each week, joining a new Facebook group online, or even better, joining a new group in your local community.

It might mean studying something you’ve always had an interest in, setting your alarm for a new time each morning, trying a new food, making friends with someone from another country, reading more books… the point is, you’ve gotta shake things up, rattle those neural pathways that are stuck in the same old rut in your brain, get those creative juices flowing.

Here’s a thought… What if your creative juices are really just your neuron’s heading down your neural pathways?  Get them fired up and flowing strongly through shaking things up!

It’s time to begin storing your ideas

OK, so now that you’re out there, you’re seeing the world through the eyes of an Explorer and you’re documenting and collecting creative ideas in your notebook or on your phone, it’s time to begin learning how to collect and store your creative ideas for future use.    The tool I love for doing this, is called MindMeister.

MindMeister is a mind mapping tool, so basically it’s a tool for brainstorming ideas.  You begin by creating a mind map, so in the example below, my Mind Map is called Content Ideas for Chrissie Murphy Designs.  From here, I brainstorm ideas for content.  So I came up with Artist Interviews, Unclassified, Book Reviews, Tutorials and Product Reviews.  Then I began adding the creative ideas I have been collecting and documenting to whichever area I think it fits best.  All I’m doing is dropping my creative ideas into a category and I’m storing them for future use.

My Mind Map with MindMeister for Content Ideas for Chrissie Murphy Designs
My Mind Map with MindMeister of “Content Ideas for Chrissie Murphy Designs”

So when I’m stuck for a creative idea, meaning a new one one doesn’t arrive at the exact time I need it, I go to my mind map, and pull from my store of creative ideas.  Then I’ll use one of them for my next project.

Some more MindMeister info…

I’m guessing you’re wondering if MindMeister is free or if it’s something you have to pay for.  Well, the answer is yes, and no.  Yes, it’s free for the creation of up to three mind maps.  If you need to create more than three, you will need to pay for the app.  I have created two mind maps and I’m trundling along quite ok.  At this stage I can’t forsee what I’d need a third map for, but I do have one up my sleeve for future use before I would need to consider upgrading.  And here’s the other really awesome thing, MindMeister is also available as an app for Iphone and Android, so you really can carry your store of creative ideas around with you.

One other thing I should add about MindMeister before I finish up.  MindMeister works seamlessly with MeisterTask.  MeisterTask is a task manager tool that connects with MindMeister.  So as you dump your creative ideas in MindMeister, you can connect with MeisterTask and turn those creative ideas into workflows that you can assign to others (if necessary) or share via the usual apps.  You can assign due dates, priorities or add attachments etc.  I haven’t flowed my mine through to MeisterTask yet, but I envisage doing so in the future.

How to Collect and Store your Creative Ideas by Chrissie Murphy Designs
Go on! Pin me! How to Collect and Store your Creative Ideas

I’ve said it before, the Creator is limitless in His creativity and we are made in His image, so our pool of creative ideas really should be limitless.  Don’t let the enemy come in and tell you that you have no creative ideas or that you aren’t creative.  You are…. you truly are!

So now you know How to Collect and Store your Creative Ideas

More than anything, I hope you now feel empowered and equipped to capture your creative ideas as they happen and to store them for your future use. And I really hope you feel like you have some control over your creativity, this is your journey, so claim it friend!   

Want to be more Expressive?

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Until next time, listen to your heart and sharpen your coloured pencils. A masterpiece awaits!

Bless you my friend

Chrissie xx

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