New ideas are like rabbits streaking through consciousness; they’re fleeting. If you don’t grab them quickly, they’re usually gone in a flash. Sometimes, a catchy title for an article pops into my head but by the time I get to my desk, the thought is gone — and I can’t get it back.
The most distinguishing characteristic of “creative” people from “regular” folks, is that creative people have learned ways to pay attention to and preserve some of the fleeting ideas that occur to them. They have capturing skills.
The scientist Otto Loewi struggled for years with a problem in cell biology. One night, a new approach to the problem occurred to him in his sleep. He grabbed a pen and pad in the dark, recorded his new ideas, and went back to sleep. Morning came and he couldn’t read his writing! Had he imagined this great solution, or was it real? The next night he was blessed by the same flash of insight. This time, he took no chances; he pulled on his clothes and went straight to his lab. He won the Nobel Prize for the work he began that night.
People who are serious about exploring their creative side develop and practice various methods of capturing new ideas. Artists carry sketchpads. Writers and advertisers carry notepads or pocket computers. Inventors make notes on napkins and candy-bar wrappers–especially inventors of new foods!
Salvador Dali, the great surrealist,used to grab ideas for paintings from the very fertile semi-sleep state we call the hypnagogic state. He’d lie on a sofa and hold a spoon in one hand, balancing it on the edge of a glass placed on the floor. Just as he’d drift off to sleep, he’d release the spoon, and the sound of the spoon hitting the glass would awaken him. Immediately, he’d sketch the bizarre hypnagogic images he was seeing.
Anyone can do this. We all have bizarre perceptual experiences in those moments before we fall fully asleep. Dali simply developed a way to seize some of them. Capturing skills can be taught to people of all ages and in all occupations. Teachers, parents, and managers can boost the creative output of a group simply by providing some simple training and the right materials.
Capturing is easier in certain settings and at certain times, so our odds improve by identifying the settings and times that work best for us. Keep writing materials handy or sit by a pool, on a cruise ship or in a cabin in the woods.
— the above info was found online —
I find my capturing moments after a restless evening, or in the car on an extended trip.