Long before PDAs and SmartPhones, I used to carry a little pad of paper with me wherever I went. And a pen. I had ink stains in most of my jeans and shirts. The reason I did this was to write down every idea that came to me. I learned early on in life that ideas ride on the wind and if you don’t catch them when they appear, you may never see them again. And here’s the thing about ideas – you have no control over when they arrive. Which is why I also kept a pen and pad of paper on the nightstand. Too many mornings I woke up trying to decipher blind handwriting only to realize that the idea had passed me by.

Thanks to the digital age, I no longer have ink stains on my clothes, but I continue to try and capture ideas when they appear. And whereas I used to catalog everything that popped into my mind (which now live in plastic buckets in the attic), as I’ve gotten older I’ve somehow learned to automatically vet which ones are worth catching. Unlike an inventor or an entrepreneur, my ideas are always concepts for stories. And last night, two really good ones appeared. As they did, I ran over to my computer and started typing. Then I filed them away for later. I can’t wait to write them one day, and maybe I’ll even dig into the buckets in the attic to compile a book of shorts, but until then I’ll remain ever vigilant for the most colorful concepts as they flutter past.


Jim Mitchem

Our Best Selves in the Digital Age

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.