Being Deliberately Creative

Let me get one thing straight: I do not consider myself a creative person. This, coming from the guy who gets the phone passed to him to come up with engaging lesson plans for 5th graders or snazzy names for stuff. I do comics, have bucket lists of story ideas in progress; I have created 3 languages with respective worlds, have served as a writing consultant, and just do random sketches in general (from monsters to startups – yes you can sketch start-ups) which are utterly irrelevant to other people’s lives.

So let me get another thing straight: creativity does not mean making something out of thin air. Anything and everything has a basis for beginning. For the most part, it all depends on how you think about things. I do not make stuff. I ask a question or ponder a concept. And then I build a scenario around it based on what would be plausible or appropriate from a massive array of data gained throughout my life. In robot logic, say I have x. What are things that are related to x? Suppose [a b c]. Which of these serves appropriate purpose? Say b. Is x answered satisfactorily? If yes, congratulations, your x is complete! If no, then let us look again at x and b. Does b need support? Does [a c] also work out? Why or why not? Why did you chose b in the first place? etc. But…does x+b already exist? Yes? Change b. Hopefully you get some idea.

If not, here is another way of putting it. Say you are making Frankenstein. You need arms, legs – meh, why do you want to make an adult when you can have a baby? Adult Frankenstein already exists. So let’s make it a baby. Oh yeah, you need a soul as well, because everyone has a soul and yours is probably going to hell with this experiment, so yanking one out of a person should not be a problem, right? Right.

And there – now you have a basis for a Jack the Ripper plot. Because hey – where else are you going to get baby souls from that no one will miss? Oh yeah, there is that whole edgy concept about whether unborn children are people. You can go all “meh – irrelevant, let’s make babies! :D” or decide to make it a heartwarming message to the world or realize that if unborn children did not have souls, you have to go back and rethink your plot.

Yes, I literally came up with that while I was typing.

Granted, I do have an advantage in two ways: I have been doing this for years and I naturally think that way. For me, patterns jump, and I echo or extract as needed. For you, maybe it is different. But really it is just stringing together pieces of data into something new. This kind of thing takes practice. Get a base. Ask questions for what is needed. Ask questions about what exists. Then add to it, edit, add to it more. Or forget editing. Just rant about the obvious – whatever pops into your head – whatever you think about. If you are more visual, doodle or collect masses of images from google. If you are more of the sound-type, record yourself, or things you hear. Granted, you will end up going on tangents. But who said creativity ever required you to focus?

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