“Having a place to record your musings, and keeping it and a pen nearby, sends a signal to the brain: “I am ready for your input.”
Henriette Anne Klauser
In her lovely book, Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette recommends a super-simple writing tool that can reap powerful results: the “tidbit journal.” She calls this a “suggestion box for the brain” because it provides a quick and easy way to capture fleeting but useful ideas, images, and other creative “tidbits” that otherwise might slip away and disappear.
One writer, for example, used a small, pocket-size journal while traveling as a convenient way to jot down images and phrases she saw and heard — and wanted to keep track of. Then at night, she would transfer these tidbits to a larger, more permanent journal she used and expand on them. The writer said that carrying her little book made her more alert to everything that happened around her. It was a focusing tool that concentrated her attention on what was happening in the moment.
Here’s how Henriette describes the pay-off for using this approach: “Carrying a little book with you honors the ideas that come to you, and when you do that, the part of your brain that comes up with these suggestions will be so thrilled to get a little attention and respect that it will send you even more. You will become a hotbed of lively suggestions sparking your imagination continually.”
Love that last sentence: Who among us wouldn’t want to find a way to spark our imaginations continually? According to Henriette, there’s actually science behind this: Having a pocket journal readily at hand sends a signal to your brain and “stimulates the thalamus to alert the cortex: Wake up. Open your eyes. Look and see. Be present to all signs around you. Life is on your side.” Wow! Instead of random bits of paper in my bag, I’m going to carry a little notebook from now on — especially on my walks. Write on!