Creative Thinking With...

Creative Thinking With Notebooking

A simple way to stimulate your creative thinking
and capture your best ideas...

Notebooking -- Portable memory bank for your creative thinking

Notebooking is a really simple way to unleash your genius for creative thinking.

We call it notebooking because it involves getting a notebook and jotting down the thoughts and observations that meander through your mind during the day. This simple practice spurs your mind into greater creative thinking.

Go to your local supermarket or corner store and grab yourself a handy little notebook. It should be small enough to easily slip into your coat pocket or handbag. I've got one that has a little elastic band attached to it that slips over the front cover and keeps it secure when I am carrying it around.

You'll also need a pen or pencil that you can carry easily, like a Bic.

Okay. So your task is to start jotting down your observations... and your goal to get you in the habit of doing this, is to write 30-50 things down a day. You can do more, but don't do any less - at least to begin with. Now don't worry, although this may sound like a lot, you are really just making fleeting notes.

Leonardo Da Vinci used notebooking to do his creative thinking in and capture his ideas and observations

The fact is that great ideas pass through your head all the time, and you entertain them without really being fully conscious of them... you just don't recognise the value of them and it is so easy to forget them and lose them forever.

With your notebook you will capture these ideas. But your focus is also upon observation.

So, you might be walking along the sidewalk and suddenly notice a dandelion that has pushed up between the cracks of the paving slabs - and you are hit by that "bright defiant splash of yellow" that contrasts so vividly against the dirty grey paving ... so you whip out your notebook, and write down something like:

Dandelion, bursting through the prison walls, bright defiant splash of yellow

... or whatever your particular observation about it is.

* Portable Memory Bank - carry around, and use, a notepad, index card, postits, even a pocket tape recorder, to capture and reinforce having each idea or thought or observation. Each one you capture, reinforces and sharpens your faculties and each of the hundreds you're always letting slip away unnoticed, dulls your faculties...

Win Wenger

What you are doing is:

1. Training your mind to be more observant

2. Telling your mind that these observations and thoughts are important to you (important enough for you to note them down)

3. Providing a sense of inner space for ideas to flow and an inner security that you will recognise them and acknowledge them by writing them down.

The results this practice will have on you:

  • You will become more observant
  • Your intelligence will increase because you are capturing more information, becoming sharper and making more neural connections
  • Ideas will stream into your mind on a regular basis
  • Your creativity with words and images will definitely increase

    The best times to practice notebooking:

  • All the time!
  • When going for a walk (or run, but its harder to notebook running!)
  • When deliberately focussing on a particular creative challenge - your observations may seem completely unrelated to your challenge at first but press on... the brain has its own mystery and you'll never fully understand the way it makes creative associations.

    Creative thinking with notebooking is a great technique for generating ideas - for art, for music, for writing, for business, for profit, for life!

    Da Vinci Creative Thinking notebook 


    Brain Boosters -- 20 Minutes a Day To A More Powerful Intelligence by Win Wenger

    Portable memory bank --

    Other notebooking resources:

    The sites below reference 'notebooking' in relation to home schooling. Here they encourage children to keep notebooks on particular subjects, where they can collect bits of information and knowledge on that subject that they find. This is a little more like Emerson's idea of a personal bible or journal in which you collect those phrases that hit you like a blast of trumpets. It's a great idea and these sites are worth looking at to see if you can add to the idea of notebooking that I have given you above.


    The Notebooking Corner:


    Ignite the Fire: