Your Idea Starts Here: 77 Mind-Expanding Ways to Unleash Your Creativity by Carolyn Eckert Storey Publishing 2016, 224 pages, 5.1 x 7.2 x 0.9 inches $10 Buy a copy on Amazon
Art director Carolyn Eckert originally wrote Your Idea Starts Here for artists and designers who needed a creative boost, but soon realized that the book can actually help any inventive soul. This hardcover pocket-sized book pops with fun images along with 77 exercises to dislodge the blockages that are damming up your creative juices. For instance, Exercise 19 suggests changing up your routine (inspired by a Steve Jobs practice). Exercise 35 says to “Stop Whatever You’re Doing.” In other words, “If you were using blue, use orange. If it’s square, make it round…”
Interspersed between the idea-generating exercises are inspiring stories about inventions (such as the potato chip, Slinky, and windshield wipers) and what sparked them. More brainstorming tool than self-help book, Your Idea Starts Here is fun and simple yet super inspiring for anyone who looking for new ideas.
Studies have found writer's block to be a simpler problem—unhappiness—than the legends around it suggest. But there are different kinds of unhappiness, and it's the blockee's job to be honest about which one they're suffering from.
The first, more anxious group felt unmotivated because of excessive self-criticism—nothing they produced was good enough—even though their imaginative capacity remained relatively unimpaired. (That’s not to say that their imaginations were unaffected: although they could still generate images, they tended to ruminate, replaying scenes over and over, unable to move on to something new.) The second, more socially hostile group was unmotivated because they didn’t want their work compared to the work of others. (Not everyone was afraid of criticism; some writers said that they didn’t want to be “object[s] of envy.”) Although their daydreaming capacity was largely intact, they tended to use it to imagine future interactions with others. The third, apathetic group seemed the most creatively blocked. They couldn’t daydream; they lacked originality; and they felt that the “rules” they were subjected to were too constrictive. Their motivation was also all but nonexistent. Finally, the fourth, angry and disappointed group tended to look for external motivation; they were driven by the need for attention and extrinsic reward. They were, Barrios and Singer found, more narcissistic—and that narcissism shaped their work as writers. They didn’t want to share their mental imagery, preferring that it stay private.
I bet group 1 (self-critics) account for most, though. Turn off your inner editor—and if necessary, move to a medium (longhand, typewriter) that deprives you of editorial tools Read the rest
For a long time, kids' imaginary friends were a cause for concern: Dr Spock recommended taking kids to "a child psychiatrist, child psychologist or other mental-health counsellor" to figure out what kids with imaginary friends were "lacking;" while Jean Piaget saw imaginary friends as a sign of failure, not of an active imagination, because "The child has no imagination, and what we ascribe to him as such is no more than a lack of coherence." Read the rest
How is creativity related to schizophrenia and autism? Psychology professor Scott Barry Kaufman looks at a scientific paper suggesting that "creativity and psychosis share genetic roots" in the context of his own research on how different forms of creativity might relate to the schizophrenia spectrum and the autism spectrum. Read the rest
Comedian, commercial director and documentarian Jordan Brady hosts a great podcast on commercial filmmaking called Respect The Process. He recently interviewed Ryan Berman, Chief Creative Officer for San Diego ad agency I.D.E.A. The interview is a smart casual conversation between old colleagues about the modern advertising agency, the challenges of staying forward-thinking, and keeping your team fresh and energized.
Late in the podcast (14m30s), the talk turns to Berman's own documentary film on the current state of U.S. patent law, Inventing To Nowhere, which recently screened at SXSW. Though Berman is quick to point out this was a sponsored project for The Innovation Alliance, a tech-industry lobbying group, it is not branded content. The doc is an impassioned plea for inventor protection under whatever patent reform comes from congress.
The Innovation Alliance website SaveTheInventor.com features a petition declaring:
...we oppose efforts by some multinational companies in Washington, DC to weaken patents and make it harder for inventors and start-ups like us to live out our dream of creating something and calling it our own. With our ideas, willingness to take risks, and hard work, we have just as much right to succeed as they have.On a lighter note: also check out the hilarious PSA Brady directed, Scooter The Neutered Cat which he made for animal protection group GiveThemTen.org Read the rest