Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Fiction Author's Trick to Unleash Your Creativity

It is always interesting to me, as a fiction author, when people come up to me and say, "Mr. Franz, I have a great idea for a book you could write."

They always speak breathlessly, and in hushed tones, as if they had uncovered the secrets of nuclear fission, as they tell me their idea for a book about the cute things their child says. Or the story of a wise old man, just like their father.


The reality is that creative ideas are not unique, rare, valuable items. Rather, quite the opposite is true. Good ideas are everywhere and can show up at any time. Whether you are writing a new sales letter or a web page or a children's book, or the great American novel, there is a creative idea waiting for you to find it. You just have to know where to look.

Think of it this way: In Chicago, where I live, finding a beautiful, colorful seashell lying on the ground would be a unusual experience. But when we vacation on the beaches of Sanibel Island, Florida, it's impossible not to find colorful shells. They're everywhere, with more washing up on shore with each wave of the tide.

If we think of ideas as colorful shells, then the trick is simply to get our mind out of Chicago, and down to the beach!

And here's the secret that most creative people won't tell you: To get a brilliant, creative idea, you must look outside the usual sources.

For example, if you need to create a new sales brochure, many people would simply type "brochure" into Google and look for inspiration. How boring. That's like looking for sea shells in Chicago. The creative person would do things a bit differently.

Instead of Chicago, the creative person would look in Sanibel Island. Instead of looking at other brochures, how about looking to these places instead:

* The book covers of the top ten best seller list
* A collection of vintage movie posters from the 1940's
* The stripes of a sports car at a Porsche dealership
* New watches at an expensive jeweler in the mall
* Video game covers at the computer store

You see, none of the examples above have anything to do with business, or writing or sales brochures. They have to do with fun, creativity, great design, and eye catching graphics. If you sought them out with the goal of finding something you could use for your own project, you will see things as if with X-ray vision.

Ideas pop into your head, warping images and text into the shape of the brochure you are trying to write. Keep asking yourself the question, "How could I use this on my project?" over and over, and your brain will feed you results.

If, instead of looking for brochure samples online, you spent an afternoon fast cars, expensive watches and hot video games, I guarantee the ideas would flow out of you faster than you could keep up. You will soon find that your problem is not getting a new idea - it's deciding which great idea you want to work on first!

By : Kevin_Franz

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