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.

Minidisc players and the idea in you

 

A few months ago my cousin was clearing a few of his old things out from his parents’ house.

He came away with a small box of items that had meant a lot to him as a youngster.

Among these trinkets was his old minidisc player.

For a short while in the early noughties, minidiscs were supposed to be the next big thing.
Their popularity soon stifled though, as digital recording and playback became the norm – lost to a generation of people who didn’t want to have physical copies of their music. (Ironically though, with the resurrection of vinyl, this is tilting the other way).

For a short while the minidisc had been his very favourite thing. With an air of nostalgia he turned it on and listened to the disc that was inside – a tune that hadn’t been played for over a decade.

He remarked simply, yet philosophically, on how it was weird that one day he’d just turned it off and never used it again – only for it to turn up some fifteen years later.

How often do you have that with a thought or an idea? All that thinking about something, only to switch off and forget about it.

Ideas aren’t physical things, such as minidisc players. If you lose them it’s much harder to get them back.

As a creative I always used to, annoyingly, have my best ideas when I wasn’t able to write.

The novels, the stories and the concepts that I’d come up with…usually when I was driving or in the gym…right at the time when my laptop was out of reach!

I used to think to myself – ‘I’ll come back to that idea when I get a sec’.

I never did though. Because the enthusiasm for the idea would disappear before I could touch methaphorical pen to metaphorical paper.

So now I carry a notepad with me at all times. So I’m never caught out. I can jot down my ideas whenever and wherever.

I think this is a better option that writing it on my phone. My phone is a bustling hub of distractions…and a big reason of ‘why I didn’t write today’.

I also invested in an expensive notepad. Not because I’m materialistic. But, because I figure that…the more I pay for something, the more naturally valuable it seems and the more likely I’ll be to use it.

Unlike that minidisc player, it’s unlikely that your ideas will come back to you. So have something with you at all times to note them down.

Before you know it, your notebook will become a goldmine of creativity.

I know it seems simple, obvious even, but yet so many people let their ideas slip away.

The writer Robert Louis Stevenson reckoned that ‘Treasure Island’ was born from a couple of dreams that he had.

He also remarked that, had he not have had a pen (or quill back then) by his bed, he’d have forgotten the idea before he could have converted it into a story.

Don’t let your ideas walk the plank…take note of them!

(image credit: wikipedia)