Here are 7 habits that I use to help my creativity:
1. Get into adventures. Instead of saying no, say yes. Whether it’s agreeing going to the South China Sea or to Sundance festival or the grocery store.
2. Devour popular culture. Examine the work of other artists, movies, books, magazines, the interwebs.
3. Take pictures of things. I photograph things I see in the world that inspire me and use them for reference.
4. Scribble ideas. On a notepad, ipad, or whatever.
5. Share your ideas with others. Better ideas often come from a conversation. Give and receive. It’s a dialectic.
6. Ask Questions. Lots of other people know more than you do.
7. Listen. Try to listen carefully. When other people talk, you should listen. Ideas are everywhere.
All that is well and good…attempting to live an interesting or interest-ed life–via travel, adventure, new experiences, consuming the arts and devouring popular culture or whatever–is certainly a proven method to produce the raw material, the putty that makes up creative ideas….BUT, here’s a left hook. It’s all for naught…nearly useless if you don’t take one extra step…Beyond a doubt, the most important thing for shaping your raw creative material is QUIET.
Reading the biographies of so many of the great artists, inventors, and idea-people in history confirms it…they locks themselves away to get the master idea… But this is not myth. Doesn’t your own experience confirm it as well?
On reflection, it’s certainly true for me. The aesthetic for the best campaigns I’ve shot have come to me in the wee hours of the morning. Seattle 100 came to me while relaxing in my hammock on the weekend. The Best Camera ecosystem hit me in the middle of the night while on vacation. creativeLIVE was cooked up with Craig over the holidays when the studio was closed. The vision for many of my best photographs and videos have come while on airplanes, out of reach of phone calls in wireless signals. And time at the family cabin consistently produces long lists of things I want to create or do. I’m banking the same is true for you.
We’ve gotta carve out some time and space from the day to day noise…the laundry, the groceries, the homework, the job, the spouse, the friends, the television to go away.
Live and learn? How about Isolate and create.
[if this idea resonates with you, there’s more on this over at Zen Habits.]