7 Ways to Shape our Ideas without a Computer to Inspire ourselves

7 Ways to Shape our Ideas without a Computer to Inspire ourselves

We do not always need a computer to create our ideas. Whether it is ideas for a design, a new product or a business plan. What opportunities are there to shape our ideas without a computer?

Of course, it’s marvellous if we have a computer with creative programs on it. But after all, a computer is just a tool and above all, we should not attach too much importance to it.

Some people get crazy at the mere thought of living without a computer for some time or even a day. Yet we shouldn’t bring ourselves too dependent on technology, don’t you think? Although some of my tips do involve technology. 😉

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Shape our ideas without a computer

Ideas start in our heads and to shape them we need a medium. This medium can be a pencil, pen and ink, markers, or a camera. We can cut images out of magazines or browse them on the internet. The use of technology is okay as long as we recognize that it is only a tool.

Can we live without a computer?

Writing by hand
Writing by hand is great to shape our ideas

Years ago I was an (image)editor of a magazine. We had an editorial meeting for the new issue each month. Usually, we were six or seven persons, each one having his or her own task – layout, advertising sales, final editing, photography – and in addition, everyone wrote articles.

One of the editors more often than not had the excuse that he really had not been able to write because he had no computer that week. Nowadays I would deal with it very differently. I would now search for the underlying reason. But back then, I was just getting impatient. A computer is merely a tool, right, so why would a computer be a requirement?

In those days it was not that common to have a computer at home. Now everyone has at least one computer. What is your strategy if it fails or when you are not comfortable with specific programs?

Shaping ideas

Idee-Shop, a German webshop (easily translatable in Chrome)

Writing is key

Write your ideas on paper. That can be a notepad, but also a flip chart. An additional benefit of simple handwriting is that a different part of your brain is activated. So also for those who always work on the computer, it is very useful to regularly pick up a pen.

When you write by hand a lot, try using your left hand if you are righthanded and vice versa. It is a fantastic way to literally change your usual behaviour and thus get a stream of ideas flowing.

Related: 12 Tips to Find Inspiration to Make Art when we Are Stuck

Cut and paste

My travel dream board
My travel dream board

You have an idea in your head, but you can’t get it on paper. Or you do not have enough ideas yet, just a vague thinking direction. In that case, magazines are a bliss.

Collect a few magazines about your subject and cut out everything that appeals to you. That can be both photos and texts or words. Then group them together and create collages.

Designers and advertising agencies often make mood boards this way to have a discussion paper for the conversation with their clients. This is how I make dream boards I can pin on my bulletin board.

Take photos

If the image in your head can not be found in magazines, maybe you can take photos that represent what you want as a single image or collage.

Edit the photos by putting objects together, so that someone else gets the idea and you can have a brainstorm about it.

Related: 30 Tips to Spend Free Time Finding Inspiration for Creative Projects

Recording our voice

Record your voice

OK, you will need equipment for that. If you have a smartphone, it is super easy because it has a dictaphone app. And if you do not know how to operate it, you can call someone and ask if they want to record your conversation.

Then let a freelance secretary or virtual assistant transcribe the text if, in the end, you need it digitally. (Tip: on Fiverr, you can find people who can do this as well).

Draw and sketch with a colour pencil or felt pen

“I can not draw”. How often don’t I hear that remark? And I hate it almost as much as the remark “I am not creative”. It is a limited viewpoint, and after all, this is not about making Picassos or Rembrandts. You are able to indicate exactly which idea you have in mind with just a few lines or tones of colour, trust me.

Use moving images

Another app that each smartphone has, is a video camera. Record images, movements, anything that could be an inspiration.

These videos can be combined with each other in the same way as the photos or the magazine pictures to create atmospheric impressions.

At the end of the day, both pessimists and optimists are right

I should have started with this point. After all, success is determined by your own view of whether you get something done. Mindset is the beginning of everything.

If I would have been more patient at the time, I could have figured out why our editor had such trouble with delivering pieces of text. So not only his mindset could do with a boost, but mine as well!

The computer is stupid, we are not (hopefully)

A computer is a great tool, and nothing more.

Even now that I’m retired and we have so much more computer experience, I get comments from people along the lines of “But I don’t have a computer” or “I don’t know how to do it on the computer”.

We have been given so much more possibilities with technology. And yet it sometimes seems as if we allow ourselves to be limited by the many possibilities.

Everyone is creative in their own way and it’s great to express that creativity in all kinds of ways. Good luck. 🙂

How do you shape your ideas? Put it in the comment box below.

This article is an update. Originally published on 5-08-2015.

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2 thoughts on “7 Ways to Shape our Ideas without a Computer to Inspire ourselves”

  1. I always have my iPad and laptop with me. The iPad to view the quote requests and respond to the customer. The laptop to work out the requests on the spot in case of emergency.

    This is rare during the holidays because I informed the regular customers about my temporary absence.

    I also take pictures of appealing subjects and I record popping-up ideas on the iPhone.

    Reply
  2. I always have paper and at least a pencil, usually also colour pencils with me and for real emergencies my app sketchbook on my Samsung. All ideas go into a quick mind map, THE foundation for my creative life.

    Reply

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