Sunday, 8 January 2012

Creativity Tips

Creativity Tip : Restraint

If you’re feeling blocked, creatively:

Try to set a few rules for your work and follow them, strictly. For example, if you’re trying to write a poem, set restrictions such as rhyming and/or a fixed number of lines or syllables. Or if you’re trying to paint a picture, try sticking to a few colors or sticking to one style. Once you set some rules and restrictions for yourself to work in, you’ll be forced to strip away the unnecessary and focus on what you’re really trying to express. This is akin to covering a hose-hole with your thumb so the water would flow out more forcefully.

I hear often that moderation and restraint are factors in stunting creativity. And they would, if they are used dogmatically. (All dogma stunts creativity). But if they are used properly, they can be a powerful tool in intensifying and purifying your ideas.

Creativity Tip : Stream of Consciousness

If you’re feeling blocked, creatively:

Listen to your thoughts. Now write them down, or type them, that’s faster. Don’t judge what you jot down, just write it. Do not edit! try to copy the chatter in your head word for word, even the crazy tangents such as I feel hot or cold or my thigh is itchy and that guy is wearing that same red shirt again. Don’t think about grammar. Stay in the moment, and be filled with the present.

Chances are most of the stuff you write is useless, but maybe you might find a few of your own thoughts intriguing and you can see where they lead. But the important result of this exercise is that it helps disengage your editing self. For ideas to flow better, it is better not to shut them out before you’ve given them a good look. a bad idea might be a good idea in the future or in another context.

Creativity Tip : Become the Barrier

Becoming what blocks you is one of the more powerful creative tools that I’ve encountered. For example, if you’re very concerned about being original, then deliberately copy somebody or something that you adore. Once you master their style, you’ll be conscious when you’re doing their style. You will be more attentive of what you make.

If you’re concerned about making your work more “natural” and spontaneous, then try to do something routinely and precisely. Practice drawing lines perfectly, singing tones without frills, writing within rules. Once you master the basic movements and skills, then they become automatic, and they will flow naturally for you.

If you’re having trouble expressing a feeling in your work, then take a step back from the emotion and see it emotionlessly. Where does it come from? What images come to mind when you think of it? What’s its role? What is it for you?

Creativity Tip : The Hypnagogic

The hypnagogic state is the transitional state between being awake and being asleep. That’s when you start thinking strange thoughts and having strange sensations. In this state, things will flow better and you might find a great idea or the seed for it swimming in the surreal stew.

Think about what you’re trying to create or solve. If you’re trying to figure out how to make a more aerodynamic design of a device or machine, then read about aerodynamics and think about the device. The point is to drench your mind with thoughts about it.

Go to bed and bring a piece of paper and a writing utensil with you. You can also use a tape recorder. Try to stop thinking about the issue.

Set an alarm for about 10-20 mins. You can let yourself drift off to sleep. You begin writing if you can, but perhaps it’s better if you write what you see after the alarm goes off.

Inspect your visions and trains of thought for ideas, which may come in symbolic, metaphorical, literal, or whateverother forms.

Hypnogogic access for ideas is not a new discovery. August Kekulé, an organic chemist, has an anecdotal story regarding this. He drifted off to sleep and dreamt of a snake biting its own tail. He woke up, and realized that maybe the structure of Benzene was a ring. Salvador Dali, a surrealist painter, Would hold a spoon and put a plate beneath it. When he drifted off to sleep, the spoon would fall on the plate, waking him up and leaving him with visions to paint.

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