One thing that most creatives do is keep a journal or a filing system of some sort.  Their collection is anything that could inspire some sort of “click” in their process to go back and reflect on.  There are the traditionalist who use notebooks and other writing pads; often they carry them where ever the road leads.  I think it’s funny that people don’t look at creatives as necessarily organized – due to the scattered work environments and sometimes whimsical personalities that one can encounter; but to the contrary – almost every creative out there has the ability to remember the most mundane detail – particularly because they look for those aspects that most people don’t see.

With today’s digital world, there are even more tools to help everyone keep track of those special moments.  An iPod touch will allow for the quick photo reference, or the quick noise recording that a notebook can’t capture.  Some of the more recent conversations I have had with my creative friends say that even though technology is great, they have their process down because they grew with it – I embrace their stubbornness because it produces some awesome, genuine work.

I personally have embraced the new technology, I feel like I can capture twice as much as I used to want to.  Either way, if you want your creative juices to keep flowing here are a few tips that could help you with whatever process you want to start.  It’s pretty simple really – embrace the ability to think for yourself, become a jack of all trades.

1. Look up & down

Don’t always look down when you walk on the side walk.  Sure there is the ability to trip on something, but you’re missing so much by only looking down when you walk.  Look up, get that kink out of your neck.  It’s a beautiful world.
Don’t be afraid to look down either, look for the lone flower standing proudly in the sidewalk crack or the trail of ants devouring the tainted ice cream cone.

2. Get closer
There is a good rule to follow – if you can get close, you can always get closer.

3. Listen
Can you hear your heater blowing?  Can you hear the traffic outside your window? What about the song on the radio, your fingers clicking your mouse.  All these sounds make a rhythm that helps create that “moment”.  Don’t ignore them

4. Collect
Stamps, fishing tackle, coffee cups, leaves… whatever floats your boat… hmm… boats… collecting boats would be fun too…

5. Write & read
The ability to write and read or read and write is one that 90% of the population takes for granted.  It’s a gift that is not used enough to better this society.

6. Sketch
I love it when people say they can only draw stick figures.  That means they look at the paper as a 2 dimensional container.  The cool thing about stick figures is that if you can tell a story you can create your own fabric, make that into a unique lamp shade and people ask you how you got so creative.  Don’t believe me – try it.

7. Love
Love what is good for you.

8. Hate
Hate was is bad for you.

9. Ask
If I didn’t take rejection well, I would not be married to my wife.  A simple handshake and genuine ability to laugh can make things go easier for you.  It’s true, there are grumpy people out there, but I have never met someone who was grumpy for no reason.  Asking to take a photo of a collapsed barn is better than forgetting the way the barn looked when you need it.

10. Produce
Take your notebook, your collections and create something of value.  Not monetary value, but personal value.  If someone pays you for it then all is good, if someone passes it up, it’s still your treasure.

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