26 Comments
author

I use Day One now as my main journal, and have different journals in them, it helps because they are always with me, but if a note is extra valuable I write it on an index card and put it in a box, I review the cards and use them to write my newsletters.

The thing about the index cards are, these are the only notes I actually come back to over and over again, storing is one thing, using, that’s something else.

Also, my newsletter are a form of notes too!

Expand full comment

I've noticed that I get most of my ideas from nature. I often take photos of the things I see, so that in the future when I'm stuck I can look back at them!✨

Expand full comment

Nature photos for insperation is the best!

Expand full comment

I know!! Especially during the Fall, Spring and Summer months everything is just so beautiful!!💖

Expand full comment

I also love getting ideas from nature, you’ll never run out of ideas taking photos or painting out in nature.

Expand full comment

Exactly!! 💯

Expand full comment

Ideas come from everywhere. I save them on OneDrive which for me is like a room full of filing cabinets, each of which has lots of drawers and folders. If I'm out, I jot them down in a notebook I carry with me until I can give them a permanent home.

Expand full comment
author

You seem very organized!

Expand full comment

My ideas are. My desk, not so much. Littered with papers, notes, sketchbooks, works in progress...

Expand full comment

Hello! I collect some ideas on my Pinterest account. What I do is I open a private file for a project, and start digging the vast amount of images on Pinterest. I usually look for 1920s toys, for palettes, for typography, and for photos of animals. Something else I do is to look for authors I admire, and look how they solved a sequence. And then, I start sketching in notebooks. I have so many! I always keep them stored in boxes, with the year written on the cover.

Expand full comment
author

What’s your process for revisiting your notes?

Expand full comment

I do this too if I need visual references or if I'm doing research for a specific project.

Expand full comment

I usually keep at least one notebook per year. I throw there whatever comes, and when I'm working on an illustration (qnd get stuck) I go back to it and go through its pages. Somehow, I remember everything I've sketched on each notebook, so I know which one to see. Also, I sketch new ideas that sometimes become a book. I never really know if they'll work or not. Once the year is over, I store the notebook(s), and get new ones. If there're still pages left unused, I'll wait until it's finished.

Expand full comment

I keep them in my Notes app and they’re terribly unorganized. I have 1,777 notes in my phone. I need a tidy-up coworking session to tackle them! And another for my computer desktop!

Expand full comment
author

Do you search for notes you need?

Expand full comment

Maybe go through them an organize them in a journal! Do you keep a bullet journal? I started bullet journaling a few years ago and it changed my life!

Expand full comment

This is a terrific prompt. I'm continually trying to figure out a good system for saving notes and ideas. I'm still a bit all over the place, with some in lists in various notebooks, some in Pages files, though I've started using Notion more as the go-to vault. I also recently started trying Readwise to save quotes from books, but this prompt made me realize while that is useful, it's not the same as ideas sparked by the quotes - the real engine of more creations. I think I'll go back to Notion later today and make dedicated a dedicated folder for ideas, and within that can live lists of various types.

Expand full comment
author

It is such a challenge to have just one place for everything!

Expand full comment
Sep 2, 2023Liked by Adam Ming

I like to use a paper journal. I know that in the tech world we have the chance to connect, save and store so much but, for me, having one book where I connect through paper and pen in stage one. I write all in it and just have heading, Wing Chun curriculum , Substack, Crime Writing etc. I am boring yet surprisingly fun 😁

Expand full comment

OneNote. My whole life lives in there 😂

Expand full comment

Oh I have two apps that help me with my ideas.

The first one is Bear Notes (apple only) where I have a "quick note" widget on my iphone to write down the moment I get them. And tag it with "idea". So at a later date I can see it and start wroking on it. (if it still active in my mind.)

My other is Mindnode (also apple only) it is a mind map app. Where I write down all ideas that have come futher than "quick note". In this app I also write down everything I wanna write about in my own newsletter.

Aslo using it to create new original charatcers. Planning what to buy when moving etc. Was not into maind mapping before I found this app.

Both apps syncs with all my apple devices. So easy to get to it.

Expand full comment

All over the place. I really wish I could settle on a single system. I have a day book which is for everything desk-based (mostly the non-creative publishing work), which often ends up with some doodles and ideas in there even though they’re not supposed to go there. I have a creative career notebook that also sits on my desk or comes with me when I take my creative work downstairs or outside. But I also put stuff in sketchbooks, mini notebook that lives in my bag, and digital notes all over the place - a Word file with novel ideas and snippets of creative writing, folders in Creative Cloud with sketches, photos and Fresco-scribbled notes, a variety of lists of non-fiction illustrator author book ideas, lots of trend notes in Notion, a largely neglected list of stuff to draw in Trello...

The trouble is I have this idea that I will somehow find THE perfect digital tool, and I swap around trying different things and never giving any of them enough time to settle. But I think my best ideas - words and sketches - come out analogue, so I should maybe stick with the Day Book, and let it be a whole-life book, and then photograph and file everything that sparks something, so it’s accessible digitally wherever I am. And not try to find the one perfect app that will do everything I want it to.

Expand full comment

Hi Adam. My ideas emerge from the murkiest, most consciously unreachable corners of my brain. Corners populated with imagery from TV and film (especially animation), Instagram, illustrated books, and the goings on outside my window. I try to scribble down these ideas as soon as they emerge: on scraps of paper, in half-filled journals, on physical post-its, on those digital post-its you can pin on your desktop, in voice notes, in the notes app on my phone, and in invisible Procreate layers of whatever digital artwork I happen to be working on at the time. If it's an idea I want to explore more, I make a dedicated Pinterest board and word doc, and things get a little tidier.

PS. Stumbling across your Substack helped me to formulate an idea for my own newsletter! So thank you! I'm excited to see where it takes me :)

Expand full comment

I never know when an idea will hit me, so I use my phone to capture them a lot because it's convenient. I used the notes app on my iphone mostly, but also sometimes text myself! I have a bullet journal that I use for listing ideas and brainstorming too. Helps me to stay a little more organized than I would otherwise.

Expand full comment
author

I love bullet journals, and have a small collection myself

Expand full comment

So many great ideas being shared! I would love to have a system but I’m all over the place. Notes is slowly becoming my one place to gather all inspiration and ideas. But nothing beats the old school of creating a mood board and using my sketchbook. At least that works when I’m working towards a particular project, like my upcoming 100-day art challenge later this month.

Expand full comment