I have an unfair advantage by having perfect pitch, so whenever I'm humming something random and it hits me like, "that would be an amazing motif", I go ahead and write it down, note for note.
Ken's method is, from what I've seen, pretty common, and it works! It's reliable, and serial muscle memory keeps those motifs in your hands for a little bit.
As for how it sounds... unless it's incidental music that will only be virtually realized, I've been taught to always write with the players in mind, as a super high priority. Unless it's an aleatoric piece, I tend to write using technological notation right away. It just keeps it in one area, which is nice.
I start by improvising on a keyboard using various sounds trying to get a mood or some thing I can hold on to. If a melody and chords present themselves fully formed I'll immediately write it down. I've lost too many ideas by not doing this. I use a digital recorder that uses "takes" just like in a recording session. I can try different takes without editing myself at all. Then gradually I can visualize (or auralize) the work. Then as I proceed I keep an eye out (ear) for an ending. If I can get the ending, writing the middle is much easier, because that's a big hurdle to climb. I don't know what a mindmap is, but the process is the same whether I'm writing to order or just experimenting. I've always been a compose-at-the-piano person. I have to hear it before I can realize it.
I have recently begun with music composition and I'd really like to know what methods do you use for expressing your ideas. Most of the time I find myself simply opening the MIDI editor and starting to write music. The problem with this method is that I tend to concentrate solely on the actual sound (with reverbs and choice of instruments) while neglecting more important parts like melody and basic structure. Therefore my pieces often end up as a total mess with no order and consistency.
I really wonder how some of you do it. How do you write down your first ideas? Do you simply take pen and paper and write down main motif? Do you write a mindmap that helps you with the structure? Do you record different ideas and then choose between them? Do you actually write a complete score before you jump into MIDI editor?
Thank you for your help