Kirstie English

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How do you start your creative spark? How to be creative with others?

Hello I have a few questions for you all today. To start with what creative things do you enjoy doing? How often do you suffer from a block on your creative ideas? How do you get rid of your creative block? and how do you find others to be creative with and what do you do with them?

I'm asking these questions as like many people who are bored on line I am craving to do something creative and I figured the answers to these questions would perhaps help me and some other people who are struggling to get started on a new project.

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    May 6 2013: For me, its not just one thing. But silence can be very beneficial to creativity. When there is no noise around you, you can better focus on your thoughts.
  • May 7 2013: Neat question, Kirstie.
    As a songwriter, I know about getting blocked! No fun at all, and can be extremely frustrating at times.
    What works best with me is to let it all go, not try to force inspiration. Going away and doing something completely unrelated can sometimes help my brain find inspiration again on a subconscious level.
    I keep a pad of paper in the two most inspiration-building places in my home - my bed, and the bathroom. You never know when inspiration will rear its beautiful head!
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    May 7 2013: creativity only needs desire and time. what a lot of people term a "block" is really the result of trying to rush the process. or trying to fabricate the process without any substance to work with.

    immerse yourself in whatever it is you are wanting to be involved in.

    for example, if you write songs then listen to all your favourite songs. listen to new songs. go and see live music from local bands through to internationally known bands, if you can afford it. and write every day. you need to knock off a lot of chaff before you find a gem. it's quite popular to refer to that part of the process as "being willing to fail" which is not really very accurate, but you do need to work through the average before you find the quality.

    it's harder with other people but, I've found, it relies on setting up the right environment. it's pretty hard to lay out new ideas in front of others unless you can feel confident enough to have a poor idea rejected. also, the fact that different people have different tastes and opinions can also muddy the creative waters.
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    May 7 2013: I suffer from a block almost every time I am required to write a paper or do a project. I've found that creativity doesn't mean that you have do something no one has ever seen before or come of up with something radical. Sometimes taking a simple and popular concept and putting a twist on it is the best thing to do for me.
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      May 7 2013: Good point, Michael. As Steve Jobs once said (and I'm paraphrasing): "creativity is all about connecting things"

      One of my favorite quotes from him!
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    May 6 2013: Here are the TED talks about creativity:

    There are lots of websites and writers who give good advice in this area. My favorite is Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action who has a good little book for free download on unsticking creative blocks.

    The best strategies to some extent depend on your interests. If you are interested in visual arts, you might check out Wetcanvas for inspiration. They also have a forum specifically about creativity.

    If you are interested in writing, Elizabeth Gilbert and Amy Tan both have TED talks that might interest you. Other sources you might look at are Steven Pressfield's blog and Julia Cameron's the Artists Way. Cameron has interesting strategies, such as not letting yourself read or watch TV for a week to clear space. Being over-scheduled deprives you of the "white space' during which ideas can percolate.

    Many people find walking or spending time outdoors alone on a regular basis to be their best technique for getting in gear.

    If you are interested in designing creative solutions to social problems, you could look at OpenIDEO, where people do this in community.
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    May 6 2013: Hi Kirstie,
    How to start the creative spark?
    BE all that you can be, with curiosity and genuine interest in every single moment.

    What creative things do you enjoy doing?
    Life! Everything! Whatever I am doing in the moment. Whatever my heart longs for and wants to pursue.....sports, dance, music, gardening, visiting with friends, speaking with you here on TED...whatever is happening in the moment.

    How often do you suffer from a block on your creative ideas?
    Never. There are SO many things to do in our world. A "block" is something we create.....I cannot imagine doing that to myself!

    "I'm asking these questions as like many people who are bored on line....."
    I have NEVER, in 60+ years, experienced the feeling of bored. There are SO many opportunities in our world, I cannot even imagine being bored!

    "the answers to these questions would perhaps help me and some other people who are struggling to get started on a new project".

    I respectfully suggest to stop struggling. Pay attention to what Ricardo says...."silence can be very beneficial to creativity". Listen to your heart. Be silent and ask yourself what would I LOVE to do? What makes my heart sing? What brings me bliss?
  • May 11 2013: A creative block may be due to not connecting with other people, regardless of who they are. I believe a good conversation with someone always inspires you or at least eases out your thought block. Sharing ideas or views is a great way to refresh one's mind and welcome new ideas. It's like a proper sit down conversation with a best friend or family member, it never ends where it started, but at the end of it you feel better, in a way you cannot explain. It's your mind taking a break. Sometimes, temporarily straying away from your goals can push you harder towards it.
    When it comes to inspiring others, teaching or guiding can be huge plus. Rather than a monotonous explanation a challenge of sorts winds up the mind, only to unspool when the spark occurs. And working as a group (no leaders, just interconnected duties) helps people achieve a more creative thought process. As a group you not only have to set your own goals, you have to take others into consideration and work in harmony for the greater good.
    As an engineer myself, I have to constantly innovate and be updated with current technology and standards, be it work or individual research, there's always a point in the day where you'll want to throw in the towel. While I try to motivate myself, a trusty team and manager helps alot. While creating a spark is one, how can you sustain it? How do you decide that this chosen path is the ideal one?
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    May 10 2013: being aware of detail, really into detail, can often inspire creativity. for instance, if i notice the buttons on your jacket, i might get the idea i can design amazing buttons
  • May 10 2013: I like trying to think of new applications for products and devices.

    I like looking at general Wiki definitions and follow all the thread to see how related topics are connected

    Like visiting places or doing things I have never done before, out of my comfort zone.

    I like to go through catalogs, like the ones on air flights with many different ideas.

    I visit the patent office web site and type in things I am interested in, then follow the reference.

    I always read the reference list to see how an author brought a subject together.

    I almost always try and connect the dots to understand complicated procedures or policies that are driving me to do a job so that i understand the decisions that are important, and those that might be tailored to better suit the needs of the situation.

    I like vistiing art exhibits, craft fairs, old technology, and past architecture to see what novel items I can pick-up and use to do what I need to use to solve my problems.

    I visit technical publication websites and archives to research subjects i am interested int to see past and current work on the subject.

    I frequently clear my head with a long walk on the beach, in a garden or just around the neighborhood.

    I look at how other people solve problems and listen to how they were thinking when they solved the problem. Listening is a vastly under-rated skill.

    I always take time to observe something I do not understand in nature or science, usually until I have satisfied myself that i understand it.