Brainstorming Alone

Most often we are forced to create alone. This is the most difficult way to be creative. As one person, no matter where your ideas lead, you can only pursue the patch determined by one person’s experience and knowledge. Creative thinking is not impossible to do all by yourself. Picking ideas from your own brain requires discipline and a keen awareness of your thinking process.

Collate the Ideas

Wite it all down. It starts with the first conversation. Your client describes a communications problem, and your brain clicks into overdrive. As the client talks, your ideas are already flowing. Not only are you listening to the specifics of the problem, but you are processing this information and generating ideas. Sporadic, unorganised, free-flowing thoughts jump out at you and they keep coming throughout the creative process. They must be recorded. Write them down. Sketch, jot and scribble them, or package them neatly in a file folder for you to reference.

The thoughts you collect fuel the final concept. Have you noticed that active projects are rarely absent from you mind? It seems ideas and concerns often surface when pen and paper are nowhere to be found. When that happens, do whatever you can to remember these thoughts. Capture them on scraps of paper that you throw into a dedicated project file. Even better, take a sketchbook or notebook everywhere you go.

A sketchbook is a great source of inspiration and a perfect record for ideas that develop out of a project. Make it your basic rule to carry a sketchbook everywhere you go. It should be flued to your fingers and serve as an extension of your brain.

It’s easy, however, to forget a sketchbook. It is cumbersome when we have other things to carry. That’s a sign there’s a problem. Replacing a sketchbook with a time planner or calendar suggest that you even schedule your creative time. Even worse, it suggests that you don’t have time to waste being creative; and that is a creative sin. Ideas often don’t emerge during a scheduled time; you can start with a blank piece of paper and end with one. You could be better off scheduling a trip to the zoo and carrying your sketchbook with you.

Image of doodles

Record everything in a sketchbook. Draw, write, scribble, doodle while you are on the phone. Tape pieces of ephemera that you’ve collected or items from magazines or newspapers into the sketchbook. Photographs? Mistakes that emerge from the copy machine or laser printer? Cut them out and tape them in. You’d be surprised what ends up in a sketchbook. Write. Just because you’re not a writer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write. Jot down words, sentences, paragraphs, quotations, remembered conversations or overhead gossip. Describe landscapes that take your breath away or faces you have seen on the bus.

I hope you have found this little bit of information useful. Keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 where I’ll be telling you about the Project File and Project Notebook.

Keep creating and enjoy the creative process. We do our best work when were are loving what we do.

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