Have you ever wondered about people who never seem to have paper or a pen with them?
I'd feel naked if I left home without my Moleskine reporter's notebook stuck in my hip pocket, and a couple of pens. Maybe it's just a habit I learned when I start working for my first newspaper at age 19.
Through the years, countless ideas, quotations, and names and phone numbers have found their way into my notes. One of my cheap pleasures is to sit in a coffee shop and write.
The notebook habit is helpful for anyone. You don't have to be a journalist to benefit.
So much emphasis these days is placed on creativity, on training the brain. Some of this emphasis comes from the fact we live in an increasingly competitive society in which creativity and fast thinking gives a person an extra edge, a leg up on the competition. But some of it comes also from what's been learned in recent years about the brain's plasticity - its ability to lay down new neuronal pathways, and even to grow new cells.
My belief is that the habit of carrying a notebook and a couple of pens (two, in case one runs out of ink) leads to the habit of writing more often, of being observant. Since the acts of observing, thinking, and writing lead to new ways of seeing and interacting with the world around, naturally creativity seems to grow.
Maybe the best - and most basic - resolution one can make for the coming year is to start carrying a notebook and using it. And if you're one who already does, resolve to use it more often.
Keep this resolution and 2010 will be more creative, enjoyable, and profitable.