STAYING ENGAGED FOREVER: Create space for happy accidents

Some of the greatest creative joys you can experience are when something unexpected happens that focuses, reframes or adorns your project in a new way. Prepare for these moments, allow yourself to not know everything at the onset, and expect to be challenged, delighted and surprised by your own efforts. Prepare yourself by making a mess, but also by knowing your mind.

Use your index cards or whatever organizing tools you’ve decided on. I try to shake my cards out of their stale, organized sections and mix them among other ideas and images. I purposefully put notes and scribbles on the wrong sheets, mix the new in with the old, make new notes on tracing paper, or create new computer files on top of copies of old files to allow accidental combinations and layered creations to pop up. It’s a mess, but it’s the mess of me, and if I examine it closely and intelligently, I can find the themes and stories hiding there, and begin to craft it into something compelling.


1. Pull out two books, a newspaper or magazine, and a stack of ideas and images on the space in front of you. Turn on the TV (but turn the sound off.) What’s the first song that comes to your head. Whistle it.

Look for new connections. Record them, add them to your store.

2. If the above is too over-stimulating, the pull out an “image that sings” and a newspaper clipping. Combine like in exercise xx (forthcoming!) Record.


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