Friday, 28 November 2008

I asked the hive mind...

A question I posed on Metafilter

Brain shift: How do I transition out of a heavily academic/theoretical mode, and into a creative one?

My PhD work involves writing about my research, and creating visual media. The writing, needless to say, is very dense and theoretical. The creative work is just that - creative, free, fun, beautiful, without constraint. I enjoy both of these pursuits enormously, and for different reasons - the theory for the problem solving, mental knot untying and wordsmithery, and the creative because it's what I love to do. I don't need help with either of them, but what I do need are ideas for transitioning from one mindset to the next. I become pretty much entrenched in one mode or the other, and find switching pretty hard. To be honest, I find conducting a conversation or making dinner hard sometimes after I've been focussing on this stuff, but no one can really help me with that.
I'm looking for ways, small creative ways, to start moving out of the theory and into the making. Out of head and into hands. Ways to brainstorm visually. Visualisation, meditation techniques, anything goes. What do you suggest? Silly, fun, irrelevant, relevant to get me out of my head, and focussed on art-making.
Three conditions, if I may:
1. Ideally I would prefer the ideas not be "Go take a nice walk outside" - what I'm looking for are time effective tools or ideas which can get me focussed on making creative work in an industrious way.
2. I should mention that I don't need to make this transition daily, more like every few months. So if you can imagine what I would like to do is focus on the writing for three months, spend a week or two in fun transitional exercises, then move onto creative work for three months. Rinse and repeat.
3. I have already read The Artist's Way, and don't much care for its spiritual angle. What I would love are ideas, practical things I can do which won't add another book to my already long reading list. I have been writing for months now, and have become the human equivalent of a test pattern. This Ms. Dullsville automaton thing isn't working with the creativity at all. I really appreciate your help...

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