Organizing Creative Ideas

The thing about creative ideas is you never know when you're going to have them. Sometimes it seems like you can easily think of one idea after another. But then sometimes you feel as if your creative well has completely dried up.

Does that ever happen to you?

I've lived through both extremes and discovered that having ideas on hand is so helpful for when you have no ideas or so many you're overwhelmed.

Here are some things I do to organize ideas so they are always on hand. 

1) I use Evernote or some kind of note taking app on my phone. I like Evernote because it allows me to tag and sort things easily. And I can go back and search if I can't remember where I put something. But the point is, when I have an idea I pull out my phone and write as much detail as I can about it. Size, shape, colors, function, etc. I've learned that including a bunch of details here means I'm less likely to look at it later with no idea what I meant. I'm also more likely to be able to expand on the idea into more ideas.

2) Sometimes we have ideas that are best drawn or doodled. For those times, I keep a small notebook in my purse. And honestly I grab this sometimes when I want to write the idea too. It gives me plenty of space to draw and write what's in my mind. Many times I will go back to these and input them in Evernote so everything is together.

3) Pinterest is another tool I use. I know it's easy to get sucked into the never-ending scroll of Pinterest. But if you stay focused and don't look, you can avoid that. (Easier said than done right?) Sometimes when I have an idea, maybe for a specific project and I want a color scheme to go with it, I'll search for it on Pinterest. Or if I see a technique that I'm not exactly sure how to do, I'll search it there. Anytime I feel I need more visual direction, Pinterest is my go-to. 

4) Sometimes the idea doesn't come from my own head but from something I've seen. Maybe a window display, a photo in a magazine, or an outfit. When this happens, I try to take a photo or screenshot. Usually I do this for textures, color combos, or the aesthetic of a piece. Later, I'll go through my photos and upload them to Evernote with notes about what I liked or want to remember about that idea.

5) One last thing I tend to do is combine these tools. I'll see something that sparks an idea. Then I'll take a photo and write and draw where I want to take that idea. Then I'll use Pinterest to fill any missing pieces of the idea. Then I can put it all into Evernote for easy access when I'm ready to create.

Most of my ideas don't come when I'm at my table ready to work. But keeping track of my ideas means I have somewhere to look for inspiration when I am ready to work. Using Evernote for this gives me one place to look for inspiration. When I'm thinking of projects, I go to the art projects notebook there. Then I can take a seed of an idea and make it work for what I'm doing. Or if I have no ideas then at least have somewhere to start.

What are your favorite ways to organize creative ideas?