When I moved into my cute little apartment on the beach ten months ago, the previous tenant left me two gifts: a sleek, modern glass desk and a whiteboard on the wall between my office/bedroom and the rest of the apartment. Of the two items, even on the first day, I was more excited by the whiteboard.
Whiteboards have always been magical for me. When I worked in the corporate world, I used whiteboards as a way to process ideas, brainstorm, find clarity and communicate ideas to others. Being highly visual, I like to draw diagrams, timelines, mind maps and pictures to articulate my thoughts, especially to others.
The great thing about having a whiteboard within my home environment is that I never worry about losing a thought, idea or epiphany. The second an idea pops in my head, my immediate response is to move quickly to the board and capture it. It may sit there for a couple of days after the ping, or it may be utilized immediately. I always know when it is time to clear the board when nothing on the board is calling me, it has all been digested into knowing.
Of particular value now are my nocturnal musings. For years, I have kept a notepad by my bed to capture dreams, ideas, to do tasks and troublesome thoughts. It has always been necessary to get them out of my head ASAP and let the thoughts simmer down, allowing me to fall back to sleep. I learned this process when I traveled every week and was very focused/worried about logistics which would keep me up all night. What time was my taxi, my flight, did I have my credit card, my tickets, was dog care arranged? Writing down my worries and tasks reassured me that I would take care of them in the morning.
Now, I use my whiteboard instead of a notepad, with even better results and a sense of creativity that I fully enjoy. I will awaken from a dream, stumble toward the bathroom, stop at the whiteboard, write a jumbled mess without opening my eyes and fall back to slumber in minutes. The next morning, what should be unreadable scribble triggers the memory of the entire dream, the idea that was created or the task that needs to be done. A few additional notes on the board and I am ready to take on my day.
An added bonus of the whiteboard, in combination with my iPhone, is documentation of each whiteboard before it is cleared. Before I wipe it clear, I take a picture of the board, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. This provides me a lovely timeline of ideas and reminder of my thoughts and unfinished threads that deserve more focus.
While I am also a fanatical journal keeper, I find that this process keeps ideas front and center, relevant and available for the creative process to unfold.