My husband once had the chance to ask novelist James Ellroy where he got the idea for one of his fiendish criminal characters. And the answer was:
“I made him up, Daddy-O.”
Creative thinkers of all stripes know that it’s not really about having ideas … it’s about capturing and developing ideas.
Capturing them, because ideas have a way of drifting out the window unless we can capture them as they fly past.
And developing them, because raw ideas are a long way from finished work.
One of our founding partners, Sean Jackson, has been a student of ideas for many years. He’s fascinated by how we can be more intentional in our thinking, and how ideas get developed into finished work.
And he’s just launched a Kickstarter for a nifty new project, the THINKERS Notebook.
When he sent me one and asked if I wanted to talk about it with the Copyblogger audience, I said yes right away. And here’s why.
First, let’s talk about paper
Obviously Copyblogger Media is known for digital products and services. But the THINKERS Notebook is a real-world, paper object.
And I’m a big fan of that.
I’ve used paper notebooks for many years to develop and organize my ideas. There’s something about slowing down and putting ink on a page that helps ideas become richer and more complex.
And even though I’m a really fast typist, nothing beats the immediacy of scribbling words on paper, using arrows or circles or lines to connect them, and maybe even making a tiny drawing or diagram.
(Mind-mapping software feels unbearably slow, limited, and clumsy to my pen-and-ink-oriented brain.)
And finally, like many writers, I am a longtime pen geek. More about that later.
I have a shelf full of physical notebooks that I’ve kept over the years, jam-packed with ideas and lists.
The only problem?
I have to turn around and type those notes and ideas into Evernote or another digital system if I want to organize them for future reference, or to share or collaborate with someone else.
For me, despite some nice form factor issues (and I’ll talk about those in a minute), this is the key difference with the THINKERS Notebook — it’s associated with an app that lets you instantly upload your selected pages. You can tag and archive them for future reference, or share them with a client or colleague.
The app allows you or your collaborators to organize and annotate your pages. And that, for me, is what makes THINKERS a very different experience.
Now, let’s talk form factor
THINKERS has some nice design elements that make it work particularly well for idea generation, capture, and development.
You can choose between two versions — Creative (pepper red) or Strategic (cobalt blue). Or you can get a pack with both, if you’re into embracing both sides of your brain.
Both are laid out in a horizontal format, encouraging you to get lateral with your idea generation. The format blends lined columns with a dot grid, a nice framework for drawing diagrams or other visual components. The Strategic version has a light quadrant superimposed on the dot grid area, useful for SWOT and other quadrant-based analysis.
A good-looking disc binding makes it really easy to remove pages to share, or to rearrange pages without tearing or creasing them. The binding lies absolutely flat when the notebook is open, and the cover is firm enough to write on without being too heavy.
And the paper is nice.
Like I said, I’m a longtime pen geek. And finding a fountain-pen-friendly notebook isn’t as easy as you might think.
THINKERS is printed on 100 gsm paper, and it’s a pleasure to write on, no matter what your favorite mark-making tool might be. And unlike on some heavily coated papers, your brilliant ideas won’t take forever to dry on the page.
I threw everything I had at this one, including literally dribbling acrylic ink on the pages — without any feathering, bleed-through, or ghosting (showing through to the other side). A fat-point Sharpie ghosted just a bit, but that’s going to happen on pretty much anything lighter than a greeting card. Ultra-fine point Sharpies — a favorite of many creative folks — work just great, though.
Whether you like a pencil, a ballpoint, or a wet-writing fountain pen, THINKERS is up to the job. (Crayons and markers work, too.)
Here’s how you can get one (or two, or …)
The notebooks are available for pre-order here:
This is an independent project of Sean’s, so that’s an affiliate link, meaning we get a few dollars if you order from our link.
But we’re promoting it because it’s cool, not because we make a modest commission. 🙂
We think this will be a great tool for you to develop and refine your business and writing ideas, as well as share them with clients or colleagues.
And stay tuned to your email inbox, because when the notebooks are delivered, we’re planning a private online get-together for Copyblogger readers to chat about their favorite ways to use THINKERS to capture, develop, and share their ideas.
You can pre-order notebooks here, as well as get more details about how THINKERS Notebooks are put together.