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Developing Factual Ideas

Do You Want to Kick Start Your Creativity? Here Are Ten Ways.

River Lea - aka East End Riviera

Photo (C) TV Mole

In TV development land we are on a constant treadmill of trying to come up with new ideas; and all that spontaneous generation, writing and pitching often comes to a slow, grinding halt when we run out of ideas or enthusiasm. So what to do?

I’ve discovered – in the case of creative block (or just a reluctance to start work) – that walking or cycling for five miles across the marshes near my east London office, past the heron standing sentinel on the edge of the culvert; past the skittish diving ducks under the bridge; and along the path by the red and green narrowboats in the marina, where people eat fried egg butties and drink strong tea whilst dangling their toes above the oily water, does the trick.

At the end of my journey is a cafe where they know my name and a wall of loyalty stars that provide evidence that, over the months, I’ve drunk many more than 100 cups of flat white coffee (often accompanied by homemade a homemade cup cake, slice of ginger crunch or a sticky, chewy meusli bar). After reading two newspapers in succession I set off back to my desk with a full stomach and a pleasantly empty mind. At some point on the return journey I usually  have some kind of eureka moment – a new idea, a fresh approach, a fix for a structural problem. When I get back to my desk, buoyed by exercise endorphins, I can’t wait to start work and ideas  or writing flow as if by magic.

Design blog ISO50 asked 25 people in the creative industries to share their methods for shaking off a creative block – there’s bound to be a suggestion in there that will help you get your project back on track.

Here are some of their suggestions that I’ve regularly used with good results:

  1. Chad Hagan, Minneaopolis-based artist and designer, goes to museums, galleries and shows to find inspiration.
  2. Kim Høltermand, a Danish photographer, listens to music to get in the mood.
  3. Deth P. Sun, a painter/illustrator based in Berkeley, California, takes a break to become more productive.
  4. Ji Lee, Creative Director of Google Creative Lab, cleans his surroundings to clear his mind.
  5. Airside, a UK creative agency, advocate setting your alarm clock to go off insanely early to harness the unfamiliarity of the day (or capture REM dreams when you fall back to sleep).

And here are some that I really should try to do more often:

  1. Michael C. Place, of UK-based graphic design studio Build, advocates culinary activity involving chilli and a good red wine to get the creative juices flowing.
  2. Mark Weaver, Altanta-based designer/illlustrator, likes to sit in the woods to blow away the cobwebs.
  3. Jaspar Goodall, a UK-based illustrator, likes to explore a new city to pick up a new creative vibe.
  4. Mike Perry, a Brooklyn-based illustrator, artist and designer, loves to take the train to get into a new rhythm.
  5. Dress Code, the NYC design studio, have the self control to turn off their email to avoid multitasking diluting their flow.

Bonus Tip: Click on the artists’ names to visit their websites for more cross-discipline inspiration.

Read the full article on Overcoming Creative Block on ISO50 for more ideas.

Get more tips for creativity tips in Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and tips in the comments.


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