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Pressure + Movement + Play + Tangibility

I've noticed that almost half the people I know feel like they never have creative ideas, and the other almost half have so many that they don't know how to harness the ideas and make them happen.

The rest are successful.

What works best for me are the following:

(1) Pressure. This is so not true for everyone, but I work best under pressure, with deadlines. Otherwise it's easy for me to put things off. Sometimes I will create a deadline for myself (a performance, a promise, etc) in order to prioritize my project quickly.

(2) Movement. Walking, running, biking, or any kind of exploration really helps me to come up with new ideas. Just doodling in my mind's eye. If you haven't read Rebecca Solnit's book, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, you should.

(3) Play. Having fun, turning away from something, or even turning what you're doing into fun, can really help me. Play usually involves an absurd set of rules that are explicitly non-functional. A great book on play is Homo Ludens, by Huizinga.

(4) Tangibility. This is most important for me. Simply starting a project, being willing to make something tangible from my idea, being willing to suffer the pain of seeing that IT SUCKS, because it almost always does at first, is the single best thing I can ever do. My creative projects are rarely as good in reality as they are in my mind's eye, but it is so much easier to improve them once there is something tangible to improve. This can be as simple as creating a project template telling what the idea is, how it works, and a list of moving parts -- or as complicated as creating a physically interactive prototype. Either way, DOING SOMETHING rather than simply THINKING is almost always how my successful projects starts.

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