Monday, July 13, 2015

More on Creativity

I have been in a clean-up and throw out mood for a while now and the studio is slowly gaining more work space.  One of the primary strategies is to see how much physical clutter can be digitalized.  If I can photograph or scan what I really need to real I can get rid of the book, file, model, etc.

One of the things I cam across was a small paperback book. “A Technique for Producing Ideas, by James Webb Young, 1939.  It only took a few minutes to skim it again and I recalled how much I felt the author was describing the process I have adopted for many years.

In April 2014 I posted some thoughts about the creative process. Those were more focused on specific blacksmithing projects and Young’s work is broader in scope yet simply described.

I copied the following paragraphs outlining his 5 steps from this site

Step 1: Gather Raw Materials

Gather both specific and general raw materials.  In advertising, the specific materials are related to your products and your target audience, while the general materials are about life and events.  You need to know how your products impact your audience’s day-to-day lives.
Constantly browse and gather information.  “Part of it, you will see, is a current job and part of it is a life-long job.”  Train your minds to observe, then store it away.

Step 2: Digest Materials

Start putting different pieces of information together.  Bring 2-3 facts together and see how they fit.  “What you are seeking is the relationship: a synthesis where everything will come together in a neat combination like a jig-saw puzzle.”
This is also a stage at which you get mentally exhausted and feel lost and hopeless without clear insight.  That’s OK!  Don’t give up.  This stage is overcome when you have a preliminary idea of how you fit your puzzle together.

Step 3: Internalize Materials Unconsciously

Drop everything and put the problem out of your mind as completely as you can!  Let your subconscious mind work on it.
“You remember how Sherlock Holmes used to stop right in the middle of a case, and drag Watson off to a concert?”  Yes, Sherlock is working through step 3 and is very close to solving his case.

Step 4: The Eureka Moment

Out of nowhere the Idea will appear!  I experience this all the time.  When I am thinking about the flow of a presentation, I usually struggle with the opening.  I’ve struggled for days, then, Bingo, a great opening will mysteriously pop in my mind from nowhere.
When a lady asked Sir Isaac Newton how he came to discover the law of gravitation, he is said to have replied: “By constantly thinking about it.”

Step 5: Bring Ideas to Life

“The stage might be called the cold, gray dawn of the morning after.”

More detail can be found here

I was pleased to discover that everything I needed to remember about the little book was already available online so the book can go.  I’ll probably take it to the Prairie PastTimes gallery where we have set up a book nook in a back corner.  Visitors can have a seat and browse used books for sale.

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