I’m a list maker. They are most helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed with work, errands and general life. But lists can be used for more than remembering toothpaste at the grocery store. They can be used to tap into your creative mind.
I use them in fiction writing, although making lists can be helpful in any creative endeavor.
You’re probably thinking I’m off my rocker. You’re right, but that’s beside the point. Let me explain.
The first thing to do is write down the problem. In fiction, this might be something along the lines of “Jenny must escape from the dreaded Vorgon snake god in a clever way. What does she do?” or “The hero must recover X from the dreaded Vorgon snake god. What is X?” Doesn’t matter. Just write the problem down. And then number your responses one through ten underneath the question. Ten is more than enough, usually, but you can go longer if you like and/or feel the need to show off. But don’t tell me about it. I’m lucky if I can get to eight on a list.
Now focus on the question and write down the answers that spring into your head. Do it quickly. Do not stop to think. Don’t worry if the answer doesn’t make any sense. You’re not being graded. Just don’t stop! Try like heck to make it to ten without stopping. It’s tricky. Give it a try. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
The first few answers are the obvious solutions to the problem and probably cliche. After that, things get interesting. You may find some unusual and useful ideas lower down the list. It’s a nifty little way to access your subconscious/creativity/dark side/whatever.
Rinse and repeat.
- Unleash Creativity (tarlife.com)
- Something You Didn’t Know About Creativity (syl101.wordpress.com)
- Does the Reality of Being a Writer Take the Creativity Out of Being an Artist? (write-2-be.com)
- Fighting Inner Battles To Be More Creative (blogs.psychcentral.com)