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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Tip of the Tongue Strategies

Even the most diligent among us can't always remember to pocket a pen and paper everywhere we go (or, shhh!, won't admit that sometimes we just don't want to), but of course that's always when our best ideas hit us. Last night when I was walking my dog, I'm convinced I came up with the answer to global warming, but before I got home to write it down, I had a conversation with a neighbor, checked my mail, and watered the plants, so I might as well have been thinking about the lyrics to "Sussudio" for all I could remember. And try as I might, I couldn't bring it back.

We've all had that tip-of-the-tongue experience where we can't quite recall a word or a name. Usually, we can yank those back with brute force, just by repeating a letter or phrase until is falls out. But what about a more complete thought that slips your mind? Last night I kept trying to revive my flatulent brain by picturing where I was on the street and recreating the moment, which obviously didn't work, and my dog was just no help at all. What else could I have done?

What are some of your best tip-of-the-tongue strategies? What tricks do you use to recover those auto-saved documents from your mind? Or better yet, how do I get my dog to take dictation?

About wood.tang

wood.tang's picture


Matt Wood is a writer, former IT drone, sometime realtor, and full-time stay-at-home dad. He and his family live in Chicago.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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