How to Locate Creative Clues to Complete Creative Projects

How to Locate Creative Clues to Complete Creative Projects

I like Marc Andreessen. I enjoy his newsletter as it keeps me current with the latest and greatest tech trends. Recently, he professed that by collaborating with A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), writer’s block would be a thing of the past. Need to fill in that blank? A.I. has you covered. Need another ending to that chapter? A.I.’s your guy. Need a new bridge to that song? A.I. has the melody. Need another perspective for that ad creative? A.I., A.I., A.I....

While I have no doubt that A.I. can and will be creativity’s, or should I say creative productivity’s, greatest asset today, I offer a humble alternative.

It’s equally complex and amazing, just not quite as … well ... new. Equally as infinite in its wisdom and creativity, but maybe a little slower in delivery. Always available to you, no app or monthly fee required.

The universe.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that when I’m creating something (e.g., a work project, book, a blog post, etc.),  if I allow myself to become attuned to my surroundings, the “universe” provides me all the inspiration and answers I need to make the work as great as I can.

Sometimes I like to think of these “downloads” as creative clues to solving the creative problems I’m facing.

For instance, let’s say I’m writing a chapter for a new book and I’m trying to find a unique story, parable or metaphor to elucidate my point. I’ve searched on the internet and haven’t found anything that quite hits the uniqueness I’m looking for to inspire my reader in unexpected ways. Then, that night, while half snoozing and half watching a documentary on Netflix my mental radar picks up the perfect example that I jot down in an “ideas” journal.

It’s equally complex and amazing, just not quite as … well ... new. Equally as infinite in its wisdom and creativity, but maybe a little slower in delivery. Always available to you, no app or monthly fee required.

The universe.

Often, when I’m working at a coffee shop, the background noise is mostly just that — noise. However, when I need to find a word to complete a sentence, and Thesaurus isn’t delivering, I just sit back, sip my espresso, and listen a little more intently to the words rising just above the chatter around me. Almost every single time I do this, I hear the exact one I’m looking for!

Going for a run between focused work sessions loosens creative blockages. By mid jaunt I can’t even keep up with the mental downloads … which sometimes ruins my run because, having nothing with me to record the information, I’m left frenzied trying to hold on to it. My best tactic is to simply create a mantra with the fresh material and repeat it until the run is over.

My personal favourite though, is going to cities, hotel lobbies, or airports and looking for “signs.” I’ll stroll through or sit with my eyes open and mind relatively clear, and take in the surroundings. What do the adverts say? What are people wearing? What’s on the televisions in the bar? Sometimes quickly, other times not, I find the missing pieces that help further an idea or project along.

Every time the universe provides me with a creative answer, I’m filled with a surge of energy. It’s a reminder that I’m not separate from the world, but instead, part of something bigger — something I don’t understand — yet, there it is, working with me. It makes me think that whatever I’m creating has little to do with my own individuality but more to do with being one with all that is. I’m just the conduit creating from and with the greatest creation we know: Life.

Following and engaging with this universal awareness removes the sense of creative competition. It frees the angst of doing something great or better than anyone else. You’re a collaborator — inviting, then waiting, for what great ideas the universe bestows upon you.

As you tap into this awareness and create from it, you realize you can live in an intentional way that better informs the work you feel called to do. In other words, the environment stimulates your creativity. If you visit exotic and developing parts of the world, they provide a different perspective than the food court at the local mall. Reading the classics will shape the texture of your ideas differently than the news or hot takes on YouTube.

One isn’t better than the other. What you’re trying to accomplish informs the environment you should immerse yourself in. The quality of information the universe offers you while you’re engaging in certain activities should inform you about which of those activities are worthy of your time.

The only rule is to remain aware. Calm your mind through breath, movement, or even distraction while staying aware of what comes into it. Let thoughts you don’t need pass by and engage with those that intrigue you.

Our world is abundant with creative clues and ideas that will appear when you need them. You just have to be open to receiving them.

Of course, you can prompt them in your A.I. chat bot. Or, as legendary music producer Rick Rubin said, “Simply [be] in a state of continually welcoming.”

Stay creative.

Keep doing the work. 

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