I was trying to think of something worth saying but drawing a complete . . . blank (Grosse Point Blank). It’s not a block – it’s just my mind being lazy. Maybe the real problem is that there really is nothing new to say. Everything has been said and said again. There’s the old adage, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. But there is also the saying that goes “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
So maybe it should something like “If at first you don’t succeed, try again with a new approach.” That makes more sense to me. It’s a little less feel-good and a little more “it’s all about perspective.”
But if you are experiencing a creative ellipsis, how do you come up with a new approach?
*Raises hand* Oh, Oh! I Know, call on me!! – Crash a wedding!
Without old, new does not exist. There are old ways of doing things, old habits, old problems, old food, old clothes, politics . . . The list goes on and on, and a new idea typically requires something old. Tired of the same old recipes? Throw something new in the pot. Want to kick an old habit? Replace it with a new one. Tired of the same old political scene? Get on the scene yourself.
Most of what we know and see is old. The age-old trap of doing things the way we’ve always done them hasn’t improved anything. Freshen it up with your own thoughts.
Call it inspiration; call it motivation; call it . . . grabbing at straws. But whatever you want to call it, you get ideas by looking around at what other people have done or are doing. That doesn’t mean you steal their ideas, but something entirely unrelated might be sparked by another’s work, whether through the piece itself, a color, a shape, a word, or your own train of thought chugging down their path.
Inspiration can even come from a blank wall if you use it to bounce your ideas. A song lyric can bring back a memory. A color can paint a picture. The clouds form pictures every day. Look at your own work for motivation. That’s all the work of others’ is – open to interpretation for your next work.
Blue can be so many things – a feeling, a taste, a shade, a name.
Your work is versatile, multifunctional. Just as you see the work of others, everything you create is open to another’s interpretation, whether you want it to be or not. Misunderstanding is guaranteed. So reuse your own work from a different perspective. Use every definition you can imagine, while still leaving it undefined.
Think about the apple. An apple is the picture of health. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. An apple is also the image of poison and death. It is American Pie and the Evil Witch. It is red. It is green. It is worms and brown decay. It is a beautiful fruit and the picture of mortal sin. How will you represent the apple today?
This is all you. You bring the new. You’ve looked at the old and the borrowed. You examined the bleu. So what now? What did they tell you that you can dissect, manipulate, and improve?
I will always go back to what I said in Write Better in 2 Easy Steps – Ask yourself questions. Questions are imperative to my creativity. If there is a question, then there is information to be found and divulged and built upon. More information leads to more questions leads to more information.
And then, before you know it, you have multiple concepts that have the potential of generating even further possibilities through interpretation.
Whatever you are doing – writing, designing, presenting, planning, teaching – while it’s usually good business sense to have a style associated with your name, to keep your clients engaged, an open mind and variety will lure in new opportunities.