Friday, 5 December 2008

Creative springboards...

Great creativity suggestions, in answer to my Metafilter question (paraphrased). The things I'm going to start with are bold:

Setting up extremely strict guidelines, like small exercises that take an hour to achieve at most, is very useful
• Set up a ritual
mind map
word, sentence or paragraph generator
• immerse myself in sensual experience
• Get friends to commission extremely short creative works from you, like 60-90 seconds each. Make them place ridiculous restrictions on your work, like you can only photograph marshmallows and flowers. Or you have to alternate three seconds of B&W film with five seconds of color, and use that rhythm to pace your narrative
• I took a yoga and meditation class for several years and they always burned a certain type of incense. I find it much easier to meditate if I burn that incense now, it's kind of a short cut to that state of mind for me. I would say try to bring as many of your senses into your transition ritual as you can. Find a tea or juice that you save just for this, something distinctive, blood orange maybe, or a fancy, sparkling mineral water in a nice bottle. Find a scent, incense or something you dab on your wrists, even just a little bottle of essential oil that you open and sniff. Again, something you use only for this. Play a song you love or the sound of water or get some sort of chime that you ring or you could chant. If you know how to meditate or know relaxation techniques get into that sort of state and then make a visualization for yourself. Go through a door from one room into a drastically different room. You could start in a library and move into a studio filled with all sorts of colors and textures, paints and clay and toys and whatever else feeds you. Or get on a plane or boat and travel into your creative place. Feel the boat rock on the water, hear the sea gulls, listen to the engine of the plane, definitely go first class. I like to have some physical signifier, I usually use a bracelet to remind me of what I'm trying to accomplish but you could wear a ring or a necklace or even tie a red string around your ankle. Have fun with it.
What I always did after a period of distance was start with a 100 drawings/sketches in a day ritual. It will take about 8 hours and it is exhausting. You don't need to draw anything in particular, nor do the drawings have to be heavily invested with time or talent. In theory I bet you could finish this in about an hour, but who are you trying to impress? The goal here is to acknowledge 1) what you are currently thinking about, sensitive to, directing towards, interested in 2) what can be done with that.
Maintain a work journal daily. Don't be melodramatic here - but clarify your thoughts: "Yesterday I formed the nose. Today I will paint it, and try to make achieve the proper sand texture. Its reminding me of a can of sardines." Like in simplifying the equation? - cut out all the extra noise that is distracting you. Place in simple - unemotional terms what you did, what happened, and what is the current state and direction of the project(s). Acknowledge changes in intention, goals, expectations with the monotone of a journalist. If you are committing a period of time to this, things can get emotional, and haphazard - 'art' permits alot of freedom of action and thought, but that is a thin line from wasted energy and confusion. At least stating out loud what is going on for real (not in "I think" land) clarifies your intention to yourself, and permits you a way of being detached from the struggle. This permits you to think freely about directions or actions you would like to take.
• Best brainstorming method is really very short, time-constrained projects with a direct and specific goal: In one hour, I will invent a prank to scare mom. Or, In twenty minutes I will draw 5 friends wearing hats. Remove all the value judgments (like, scare the hell out of , or funny ), and focus on the verifiable. In process, you can be clever, but don't make it difficult. Make it short, contained and something you specifically reference in your mind. Generally these short projects sets your gears going on how to further manipulate it. Scale out from here.

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