November 17, 2009

Creative Process

As a designer, each time I have to come up with a new idea, it's terrifying. I'm always afraid I won't be able to think of anything. Over the years I've developed rituals that keep the fear to a low murmur. I eat some food, grab water to have near me, turn away from the computer and have a stack of smooth, creamy paper in front of me. With pen in hand and music on (at work, my iPod with noise cancelling ear buds), I begin to sketch.

No matter how afraid I am, whenever I take the time to sketch, I manage to come up with something. Then I work on refining it on the computer. The few times I've tried to go straight to the computer, I waste hours futzing around to no avail.

Right brain. Left brain. The keys to the design life.

Does anyone else have rituals that get them over their fear factor? Like a batter tapping the bat four times, spitting twice and then waving the bat overhead while waiting for the pitch, what gets you to the plate?


mary said...

i play around with the beads! =)
look at a lot of magazines and on line pictures

Sam said...

When I have a huge, overwhelming problem I pick the smallest piece of it and deal with that. Then the next smallest piece and on and on.

Always, I get the easiest stuff out of the way first.

Rachel said...

I know that fear. My best ideas always come to me in twilight sleep.

Mama Nabi said...

If I have a deadline for a creative project for which I have no specific direction, I will sometimes look at other creative projects - visual or performance or written or whatever. Most of my creative thinking is done when I'm lying around or washing dishes (or whatever it is that lets me escape into my own head)... You'll be fine. You've always come through.

Anonymous said...

With writing plays, it's not so much of a problem for me. First comes a play idea, and I let it stew in my head, often for months. Then, with a deadline, I write furiously. Further ideas often come as I am coming out of sleep in the morning.

My terror of the unknown usually comes with renovations. It's too much. It's overwhelming. There's so much I don't know how to do.

Fortunately, I learned Pick-Up-Sticks at six or seven. When I released the sticks from my fist, they fell in such a tangle that I despaired of ever being able to separate them.

But, then I'd see one stick, alone, on the edge, and I could snatch it with a fingernail. Then I had a tool, and with that first stick I dislodged a leaner. Then, I flicked a stick lying on top of the pile.

And so it went. I kept doing the jobs I could do, and by and by, I had cleared out the whole pile. And so it is, as Sam said, do the small stuff, and then build to the big jobs. Si se puede.

OTR sister said...

This might sound obnoxious, but I don't think I have a process. I just sit down at the computer and do it. I do like to look at other people's designs and various design books for inspiration. Going for a ten minute walk in the midst of a busy day and looking around at the world can help to shake some good ideas loose. I do feel that some design projects flow really smoothly and others are a grinding, grueling process (and not just because of the client but simply how creative I'm feeling.)

But I can work anywhere, in any kind of mess, with any sort of noise or distraction going on around me. It's like the pitcher in the movie, The Perfect Game. Complete tunnel vision and silence in my head. Hmm...I hadn't thought about it until you asked but that's pretty darn cool.

OTRgirl said...

OTRsis, I've always admired you. Now I fear you. (Very impressive)

B.E.C.K. said...

I get my best ideas in the shower, but I forget that fact and try to sit down and create. Then I finally give up and take a shower, and that unlocks everything. If only I could remember this! ;^)