Looking for and keeping track of ideas

Coming up with good ideas isn't really difficult. You're sitting on some right now and don't even know it. You just need to realize that almost anything in life can be funny if it's presented correctly.

If you can't think of anything funny off the top of your head, try looking at any of the following sources for some ideas. Just be receptive and keep your antennae up:

✓ Newspaper and magazine articles

✓ Things your parents did, once upon a time — start really listening to their stories!

✓ Things your kids do — really, they're funny in retrospect

✓ Your own childhood memories

✓ Funny conversations — we all have them, it's just a matter of remembering them

✓ Interesting situations or experiences (we all have these, too)

✓ Fascinating people you know or meet

✓ Tragic events (yes, tragedy can be funny, if it's handled right)

✓ Mundane activities of life — remember, it's all about the spin you put on things

After you find a good topic or issue that sparks your interest, try some free association to come up with a list of humorous ideas related to that topic. What comes to mind when you think of offices, family life, or your childhood?

Doodling a little art around your ideas helps bring new ideas to the surface as you dig for diamonds in what can sometimes be a big lump of coal mined from your experiences and subconscious.

After an interesting idea pops into your head, you need to be ready to write it down immediately to help you remember it. If you don't write it down, you'll lose it in the deep crevices of your brain forever. Be prepared to take notes at any time — on the train, in the car (pull over first!), at work, in the store, or wherever else life takes you. Taking notes becomes a habit — the more often you do it, the more ideas will come to you.

Your ideas probably won't arrive fully formed, so write down all your idea fragments — you may be able to develop them into something later. Anything will do as a means of transfer from your brain to a more permanent source of recollection: napkins, scrap paper, candy wrappers, or whatever else is available at the given moment.

If you actually remember to carry a small notebook with you, even better! Or buy a pocket calendar with a lot of white space. Don't forget something to write with also; while writing with a mustard bottle is possible, it's not practical in the long run. Keep a pen with you at all times. Remember that taking notes isn't like a homework assignment. Jotting down notes and ideas should be fun and not too complicated.

After you're in the habit of writing down ideas on a regular basis, it's important to not only take notes but take good notes. You need to develop a visual shorthand, pattern, style, or format that works for you. Stick figures and quick little scribbles are usually all you need; you don't have to go into great detail or be elaborate. The trick is to just write down a quick outline or even just a phrase — whatever will remind you of the idea later.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

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