Press 3 For More Options, And Other Random Thoughts

Press 3 For More Options, And Other Random Thoughts -- Thomas W.P. Slatin

Ode to the random thoughts notebook; what it taught me about life, writing, and everything in between.

When I was in my 20’s, my best friend at the time and I had what we referred to as our Random Thoughts Notebook.

It worked like this.  Similar in concept to The Circle tape recording sketches as part of That 70’s Show, my friend and I would have a few drinks, and then write down whatever came to our minds.  Often times, it would be useless drivel, other times, something funny would be written down, and on a handful of occasions, there would be come useful ideas and concepts jotted down.

We were unaware of it at the time, but this happens to be a technique used by some of the most prolific writers as a means to generate ideas.

Here is an example.  The topic we decided upon for this exercise was titled Useless Inventions, and we came up with the following list:

Flavored stop signs, mosquito attractant spray, screen doors for a submarine, invisible ink, self-destructing parking tickets, a subterranean lawn mower, ejector seat for a helicopter, dehydrated water, drop-out seat for a tank, a “fartless” squeezable ketchup bottle, transparent envelopes marked with “Private” and “Confidential” endorsements, reusable toilet paper, black school buses, and a submersible (underwater) toaster for your bath tub.
(January 2002)

The next time you’re stuck, and looking for something to write about, try writing down useless or random thoughts in a notebook.  You will never be out of fresh ideas to get yourself started.

Fonts used in the header graphic are Lobster, Anton, and Trocchi.  The images contained within the header graphic are random symbols.

Random Random Thoughts


  • Kitty

    You got that right but at times being random is a good thing. I do that too if for example I am in a mental block I usually go to less pressured topics that are mostly random. Just to get back in the groove I guess.

  • Oyeyipo Oladele

    You just made the best out of this post. I love the Tom , I mean what you and your friends referred to as your Random Thoughts Notebook. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wilson Jake

    “The next time you’re stuck, and looking for something to write about, try writing down useless or random thoughts in a notebook”… Seriously I support this idea, fresh and new ideas just flush in from the rubbish we think we’ve written. Thanks for sharing this piece Tomslatin

  • brainedet

    You are so right Tom, I’m going to adopt your style to make passion for what I want to do and write. Jotting also forgrtfulforg.

  • jolly555

    Random thought netebook, that’s a new one but it worth having. Writing is a skill and we can make the best of it for our good,

  • esgyll

    I have never heard of such a technique before. Maybe I should try doing it when I’m suddenly also filled wit these millions of thoughts in my head. It would really help me to sort out fascinating, funny, and whatever else kind of things into written form that I can go over and get inspiration from.

  • Grace Kim

    This is a good idea especial because when I’m bored I tend to have countless thought running through my mind. I’ll get a notebook to jot them down

  • David Mureithi

    Can’t recall a quote but it went as follows; “We have ideas but the problem is that we do not write them down”. I think the best thing is to write down whatever we think.

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