Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fifteen: Organizing Inspiration

I have struggled for years to find a workable way to collect my brainwaves and bursts of inspiration into a tidy, loss-proof package. Being just the teensiest bit perfectionistic, I felt my design journal should be a work of art in itself, or at the very least, impeccably neat and categorized. I had a lovely image in mind of curling up in a leather chair, surrounded by books, cappucino in hand, Bach on the stereo, brilliance spilling from my pen onto the crisp archival pages of a beautifully bound journal.

What actually happened, of course, is that inspiration would strike at work, or while running, or in the grocery store. I'd grab the nearest writing implement, scribble on a prescription pad, X-ray requisition, crumpled receipt from my purse, etc., stuff it hastily in my pocket because I felt rather sheepish about failing to concentrate on "important" things, put it through the wash by mistake, stack it on the counter where the kids could douse it with milk or appropriate it as drawing paper of their own, and finally, throw it away accidentally.

I persisted, though - buying notebooks and sketchpads and organizers and "systems," in the vain hope that doing so would magically impose some sort of order on the creative process. But even the most miniature of sketchbooks were never around at the right time, and when I did use them, the impulsive and scattered nature of my ideas always seemed at odds with the tidy regularity of a bound journal. A fabulous quilt block would be right next to a morose bit of premenstrual poetry, and I was forever feeling I had "ruined" it and had to start over.

It was slowly dawning on me that choosing utilitarian over pretty might be a key to overcoming my perfectionism, when Eunny posted pictures of her design journal - and suddenly, I knew what I needed to do.

design book

The covers are cut from one of the multitudinous commercial packing boxes I have been emptying and sorting, and a package of rings cost maybe a couple of dollars at Staples. I can hole punch any and every scrap of paper to my heart's content, glue clippings on cardstock, staple in ziplocks and envelopes and swatches - and best of all, it is thoroughly, reassuringly imperfect.

planning graph

collage samples