Have you ever had an opinion on something?

In the last four weeks, I bet you’ve done at least one of these four things:

– Visited a restaurant
– Visited a tourist attraction
– Watched a film/TV series
– Read a book

(Unless you’ve been finding out what it would be like to live in a nuclear fallout shelter I hope I’m right.)

Okay, now answer this… in the last four weeks have you ever wanted to write but not found the time nor the inspiration?

If you’re reading this blog, I’ll hedge my bets that your answer is ‘yes’.

My apologies if you just said ‘yes’ aloud for no reason in a room full of people. Although maybe your fault for reading a blog at work…

A few years ago, before I started this website, I would frequently do all of the four things above and would also find myself wanting to write, but lacking the inspiration or ‘the time’.

Take one glance at a site like Twitter or the comments page on a newspaper’s website and you’ll be forcibly reminded of the fact that we all have an opinion. And everyone likes to share their opinion when they get the chance.

Just like everyone else, whenever I visit a museum, watch a film, read a book or go out for a meal I have an opinion on what I’ve just experienced.

So I decided to write about it.

Trip Advisor, Goodreads, Imdb, etc. There are so many platforms out there where your reviews can actually help people, as well as give you a chance to flex some words out onto a page.

I found myself writing a metric shit ton of reviews. Trying to make them as funny, interesting and entertaining as possible.

I found that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write.

It brought back my creativity.

It brought back my inspiration.

And, in doing so, I realised that I actually did have time to write. More time that I knew. If I could find time in my day to write a 300 word review, I had time to write whatever I wanted to.

Try it. It’s the springboard that helped get me focused and writing again.

Seeing the big picture – the creativity hack you often overlook…

Growing up, I lived in the countryside – which meant I was used to country roads and the pace that life moved at.

So, when I started driving, I was a little nervous about motorways and dual carriageways.

“Why?” asked my driving instructor, “if anything it’s easier. The more you can see of the road ahead, the more you can be ready for”.

And he’s right.

It’s like that with creativity.

The more you can see of the big picture, the easier it is to plan.

But I go one step further than this, I take it literally.

So I bought an A3 drawing pad. A nice big space for me to draft out and plan what I do.

It works.

Too often I see people writing on their phones.

Sure that’s okay for a Tinder message or a Whatsapp. But if you’re crafting sentences, writing paragraphs it’s better to see the whole page.

The bigger picture. It’s good.

In a world where everyone wants a quick hack, is there actually a quick hack for creativity?

It was Steve Jobs who said it.

You’ve probably seen it plastered over the internet many times.

But, no matter how often it’s shared – it doesn’t make it any less real.

Here it is, just to refresh your memory:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while”.

And, it’s true. That’s what creativity is.

Whether it’s taking a turn of phrase and fitting it to a product you want to sell, or matching half a sentence to another half a sentence to get your point across – it’s all about connecting things.

It comes easy to some of us and not so easy to others.

There’s no quick antidote for writer’s block (not even a bottle of wine) and there’s no super easy way to force creativity while in a dry patch.

And, in this world where we all want quick hacks, this is a quote worth remembering.

Sure, it’s cool to look at creativity as some kind of magical world of clouds, pixies and dragons where only a few great minds dare tread…

… but, perhaps the easiest way to solve a creative problem is to simply work out what the two things are that you need to connect and then start finding things that connect them together.

You make just strike it lucky somewhere in the middle.

What do you reckon?

Ashley Brown 2018

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel”

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel”.

It’s an expression you’ve probably heard a lot.

It’s certainly one that I’ve both heard and said a lot.

For what it’s worth I think it’s true. The wheel is tried, tested and proven. It’s a simple bit of technology and, asides from the occasional puncture, doesn’t have any flaws.

But, yet, when you get given a brief…or when you’re starting out on a project…it’s tempting to try and be as out there as possible.

But creativity doesn’t have to be far-flung and magical. Sometimes it’s just a case of tweaking what you’ve already got to get better results.

Keep a sense of creative discipline, if you don’t have to go outside the box…you don’t have.

P.S if you were going to try and reinvent the wheel, how would you do it?

If it was me and I was reinventing the wheels for a bus, say, I wouldn’t bother. The wheels are fine. So, instead, I’d take my budget and spend it on making the in-journey experience as good as it can be. TVs, mini-bars, etc.

Creativity, Jobs and Rubik’s cubes.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs

I know I’ve definitely shared this quote on here in the past. And, let’s face it, who hasn’t shared a Steve Jobs quote at some point in their life.

Yet it just rings so true. To me, at least.

When you’re trying to create something and get it right it can be so frustrating.

The words won’t quite flow, the image doesn’t quite look right etc.

And then suddenly you have that moment of realisation and you make a connection. One that was there all along, but you’d just not quite noticed.

Creativity is like a Rubik’s cube – without the formulas that make Rubik’s cubes easy.