Think More Better

posted in: On Creativity | 0

Yes, that grammatical travesty was written on purpose.

And, it got your attention, so it worked!
One of the things I’ve been obsessed with over the years is thinking.  Specifically, thinking more creatively.  For a long time, I thought that we all had a built-in limit to our creativity.  What we were born with was all we were ever going to get.  As it turns out, thankfully, I was wrong about that.  There are a number of things we can do to encourage our creative thought.  One researcher suggests this method;

1.  Saturate yourself with as much information on your creative subject as possible.
2.  Let all that information incubate in your brain while you do something else, preferable physical.
3.  Distract yourself a bit more with every day tasks, while staying open for any sudden insights, which inevitably come if you’ve done enough of the first two steps.
4.  Go back and check the creative results of your sudden insights for usefulness.

I’m not sure that’s really all there is to it.  At least, not for me.
I do use that method, naturally.  In fact, I think almost everyone who’s job involves solving new problems does it in some way.  But, for me, the most important part is taking the break.  For my day job, for instance, I live in a sort of super-saturated information state most of the time, so taking a creative break often results in a workable idea.

For my creative life, the problem is sometimes picking ideas that are worth pursuing.  So, how do we pick good ideas?  Well, again, according to some recent research, it’s that creative break.  Having another project to work on, for instance, while setting aside the current project, before tackling a particularly difficult step may help us make better creative choices.  I am also a believer in doing the work regularly.  Many writers recommend writing every day, no matter what.  According to Cory Doctorow, “Write every day. Anything you do every day gets easier. If you’re insanely busy, make the amount that you write every day small (100 words? 250 words?) but do it every day.”  And I tend to agree.  The more I work at creative things, the more creative I feel, especially when writing.  Call it forced inspiration or habitual inspiration, if you will, but half the battle is putting yourself in front of the work, getting started and following through.

So, what do you do to get more creative?  How do you solve your creative problems?

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