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A system to keep track of great ideas

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💡 Today’s tip: Don’t just write down your ideas. Revisit them regularly.

Sometimes, what seems like a half-formed thought just needs time and space to develop into something great. To get it there, the writer Steven Johnson suggests a system he calls the “spark file”: Keep a notebook of random ideas that pop into your head. Then — and this part is key — return to old entries once some time has gone by, and consider them with fresh eyes.

As Forge editor Michelle Woo writes: “What if we had the beginnings of our best ideas years ago, and now we have the wisdom and perspective to turn them into reality? What if we saw creativity as a lifelong process, and instead of brushing off a thought that hit a wall as a Bad Idea, we classify it as a Not Yet Good Idea?” Think of the spark file as a way to brainstorm with past versions of yourself.

✍️ We want to hear from you. Send us an email at and tell us about a great idea you’ve rediscovered. We may feature some of our favorite answers on Forge’s Instagram.

📚 More from Forge on ways to brainstorm:

Turn a Good Idea Into a Great One With the “Six Thinking Hats”

Creativity Can’t Be Hacked

To Get Out Of Your Head, Think Like an Improv Actor

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Lead editor, Forge @ Medium