Monday, April 25, 2016

Want Your Ideas to Wow? Try the David Lynch Approach to Creativity


Wouldn’t it be great if we could pull stunning ideas out of the air at will? Maybe you’ve stalled on the story behind a new brand strategy. Or maybe it’s that blog post you’ve been putting off for weeks.

Sigh. Creativity can be such a punk.

And that’s where David Lynch comes in. To me, he’s the undisputed master of creative thinking. Full disclosure, I'm a die hard fan—I've watched Twin Peaks more times than what’s probably good for me.

But whether you're a fan or not, the way he finds creative inspiration is useful. And his approach can be applied to just about any type of project you're working on.

Ready to limber up your brain? Here’s the Lynchian approach to get the juices flowing:

1.     Take a Deep Breath and Get Comfortable

Lynch is a firm believer in transcendental meditation, which is “not a religion, philosophy or lifestyle.” It’s simply a meditation technique that rests your body while improving your brain’s functioning.

And increased creativity is one key benefit.

Original ideas are often buried deep within the brain. As Lynch says, “Ideas have to travel quite a ways before they come into the conscious mind.”

Meditation creates a pathway for those ideas, allowing them to travel freely to the surface.

So how do you do it? Just sit down, get comfortable and close your eyes for 20 minutes. Let your mind focus on one word, and repeat it to yourself. If your mind wanders, remember to focus on the word again until your time’s up.

The point is to relax. And now you have an excuse to chill out—you’re being productive!

2.     Don’t Grab for the Whole Idea at Once

Lynch says “Desiring ideas is like bait on a hook; it can pull them [in].”

Sometimes all you need is part of an idea. Like with fishing, patience is rewarded. Start with just that one idea fragment, and see where it takes you.

You’ll end up catching more fragments, and then more. When I’m working on new copy, I might start with one small idea, just to get going. It doesn’t have to be perfect. And then once I’ve baited the hook, new (and often better) ideas latch on.

So don’t sit and stare at your screen when you’re stuck. Put something on it. Chances are, you’ll work through the sticky spot just by the act of engaging your mind.

3.     Know When It’s Time to Recharge

Even if you’ve baited the hook and worked out some new ideas, sometimes you will hit a wall. And that’s okay. Your mind needs to take a break sometime.

And that’s when you sleep on it. If I’m working on a knotty problem during the day, I make a point to review my work in my head before falling asleep.  I’m not looking for a breakthrough at 11:00 at night, but I am preparing my subconscious mind to keep chugging along while I get some shut eye.

I can’t tell you how many times this has worked. The next morning I’ll be in the shower, going over the same problem while washing my hair, and voila! The solution is right there, perfectly clear and just the thing I’m looking for.

This operates on the same principle as meditation. It’s about relaxing, and letting your subconscious take care of the creativity.

4.     Don’t Forget to Write it Down

You never know when a good idea will come in handy. Sometimes, you’ll have a brilliant but absolutely random idea.

Write it down. Tap it into your phone. Scribble it on a napkin.

Just keep it. It might turn out to be the bait you need to catch an even bigger idea.

One Last Word From David Lynch

No matter how stuck you are, somewhere deep inside your subconscious is a hoard of creativity. It’s just a matter of opening the passageway and letting it trickle to the top of your mind.

Try it.

As Lynch says, “if you catch an idea that you love it’s a beautiful, beautiful day.”

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Think you don’t have the time or resources to find creative answers to your problems? The Content Strategy team at Rightpoint is here to help—we love transforming hidden opportunities into solutions that work. Call on us for creative ways to structure, promote and enhance your content.