Capture Everything in Practice — Summer Shorts

Yesterday I read a chapter of Tiago Forte’s excellent new book Building a Second Brain. Much of this is adapted from chapter 4 — Capture: Keep what resonates. So if you want to know more — get the book.

I was struck whilst reading it that it shows the power of this habit of capturing everything and it also dispels the myth that we are all inclined to believe. The myth being that artists or creative types have some kind of gift that is totally beyond us mere mortals. Now, obviously some are more creative than others but in the chapter Tiago looks at a case study of Taylor Swift. We may not like her particular brand of music but none of us can deny that she is successful in her field and is good at what she does. We would say that she is creative. But, what most of us, myself included would not know about or acknowledge would be her creative process.

The chapter points out that if you watch any of the documentaries there are that detail how Taylor makes her music and writes her songs, you’ll note that she is always on her phone. But she isn’t checking Instagram or Twitter. It’s because her phone is where she keeps all of her notes. Every time she has an idea for a lyric, a line, and introduction or a melody that she thinks might work in a song someday, she notes it down on her phone.

What she then has at her disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is a self made library of thoughts, ideas, lyrics, intros and melodies that she can draw from to create song after song, album after album. She doesn’t write her music by locking herself in a cabin for hours on end, starting with a blank page and coming out with song. She draws from every idle thought or idea she has and combines them into something that works.

I am never going to be a best selling singer/songwriter. But I do have thoughts and ideas about a whole lot of things through the day. It might be things that would be fun to do with the children, ideas for future blog posts, solutions to work problems, or anything. If I don’t write them down, I can never use them. If I do, they are there for the taking at any point from the moment I note them until the day I use them.

Whatever you are making. Books, pictures, photos, recipes, songs, projects, memories with your family. You can’t create it out of nothing.

Capture everything — build your library.

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