How to capture your ideas anywhere

Lifelog  •  24 Nov 2021   •  

The gods of inspiration must have wicked humour. They give you great ideas right when you’re caught up in a task that you can’t do anything about it. And when you do actually sit down to write, the ideas and inspiration disappear.

“Why is it that my ideas flow when I can’t do anything with them (at work, doing housework), but when I have the time to write, the ideas won’t flow?” so lamented every beginner writer out there.

It’s kind of like having the best ideas while in the shower, or when you’re on the porcelain throne. The low intensity activity is actually really helpful for letting your mind do the background processing needed to connect ideas. That’s why inspiration always seem to arrive at the wrong time.

But here’s the saving grace: You can make these “can’t do anything with them” moments into part of your writing pipeline and workflow. That’s where hands-free technology like voice memos, Alexa/Siri and speech-to-text transcription apps comes in.

  • Get an idea while washing dishes? Call out to Siri or Alexa and get it to log a note.
  • Send a voice memo to yourself (using the voice recorder app or on any messaging app) while driving, or walking, to note down the idea
  • Use a speech-to-text app like Otter to automatically transcribe your speech to text so that you can work on it.

Think of these hacks as idea collection/generation, an upstream part of your writing pipeline, and when you actually sit down to write, you use these ideas as a springboard.

There you go. No longer will you be subject to the whims and fancies of inspiration. Use these hacks to capture them, and when it’s time to finally sit down to write, you can unleash that into words.

Like keeping lightning in a bottle.


I’ve heard IDEO founder David Kelley keeps a whiteboard marker in his shower. Also, I agree with your recommendation of for transcribing.

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Winkletter  •  24 Nov 2021, 3:38 pm

Oh that’s brilliant! The white board marker would work well on the usual white tiles in bathrooms. I’m jotting it down for future use 😆

Lifelog  •  25 Nov 2021, 9:03 am