PHOTOGRAPH BY B. ANTHONY STEWART, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Read More
Most of us creative people find inspiration in waves, and that isn’t an accident. All of the energy on the earth is created though different kinds of waves, whether they be radio waves, shock waves, seismic waves, or wind waves in an ocean. It stands to reason then, that our own creative energy waves ebb and flow like the tide. I often used to feel depressed when my creative juices ebbed. When I couldn’t overcome a stagnant idea, I’d try to ignore it, but that’s impossible. It would eat away at the back of my mind. It’s like waiting for a late paycheck to clear on the 8th of the month when you know you had rent due on the 1st. That anxious feeling won’t go away until what’s causing it is taken care of. It’s easy to complete a task once you know how to do it from start to finish, but pulling inspiration out of (seemingly) thin air always felt like a daunting challenge. It’s one thing to want to expand your horizons, but it’s another to adopt a process that teaches you how to do it. It wasn’t until I discovered a different kind of wave pattern to critical thinking that I found myself overcoming creative inertia.
Begin at the highest level of an idea. At this point it’s your inception and your starting point. Next, work slowly from a macro level to a micro level refining the idea as much as you can until you get stuck. When you get stuck (and it will happen), instead of trying to dive deeper into the idea (which might cause you to lose time spinning your wheels) take the point of the idea from which you’re stuck at from a conceptual standpoint, and work back out of the wave. What are some things that are parallel or much akin to your idea? Find them and expand on them. It takes your original concept and expands on it, while giving you new creative ammunition to draw from, and simultaneously lifting your spirits. It’s a workout for your brain.
Think of this from a weightlifting analogy. Let’s say I wanted to make my biceps stronger. If I chose to do only single-arm dumbbell curls for a certain number of weeks, there’d come a time when my ability to add more weight or more repetitions to my single-arm dumbbell curl exercises would plateau. At that point, instead of getting frustrated, the correct solution would be to switch to barbell curls, reverse bicep curls, or preacher bar curls. In doing so, I’d reinvigorate my biceps (and my mental state) and find a new exercise from which to gain strength. In the end, I’d eventually be able to break through my single-arm dumbbell curl plateau because I would have made my biceps stronger in the interim. The same analogy works for your brain, after all, it’s a muscle too!
It was through this form of wave problem solving that I found myself breaking free from creative stagnancy. The only true solution to creative problem solving is to expand on the thing we’re trying to solve, or expand on the things we enjoy. Negative thinking only begets negative thinking. If you find yourself getting frustrated stop, take a deep breath, realize that we’ve all been there, and start to think of some things that parallel the idea you’re working on. Before you know it, the negative thoughts that were once flowing through your mind will have become a thing of the past, and you’ll actually be smarter and happier having adopted this way to solve problems. Read More
Did you guys know The WallBreakers has a new partner? Did you know that we’re going to completely revamp, relaunch, and grow the community early in 2015 Want to find out more details? Watch the video below!
I love the colors, brushstrokes, and forms that Ric Stultz creates with these clever, gouache & ink on paper paintings. I get a good sense of the many gears churning within Ric’s head from these works. With titles like “Couldn’t Handle The Pressure,” (which I’ve selected as the above hero image) “Just Dropping By,” and “So Close, Yet So Far Away,” Ric comes across as a intricate, introvert with a dark sense of humor. When he’s not busy creating these awesome gouaches, he keeps himself busy with client work. If you dig what Ric’s making, give back by checking out his site store! Read More