I hate to get critical so close to Christmas but, Carrie Underwood’s underwhelming performance in her live version of “The Sound of Music” aside…
Imagine a pristine Abbey of nuns nestled somewhere at the foot of the Austrian Alps.
Inside reside two Nun Factions – those for the earnest but free-spirited novitiate Maria and those sorely confused about the possibility that her wildness might not quite be appropriate for a disciplined life in the abbey.
As nuns are apt to do, they break out into song debating the conundrum that is Maria in the song “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
Listen to it. Go on...you know what want to! ;)
I love this line in the song: “HOW DO YOU CATCH A CLOUD AND PIN IT DOWN?”
We are asking this same question right here right now.
Except, instead of a clutch of questioning nuns we are a bunch of committed Creatives. And, instead of having Marias…WE HAVE IDEAS.
(Yes, that was total fromage – it cannot be helped. I’m pretty much comprised of the stuff)
As creative people you never know when an idea, melody, recipe or worse…a poem will hit.
Since these flashes of inspiration are free-flowing and unpredictable and can strike absolutely anywhere (especially during sneaky midday naps and mid-chew at a sumptuous Christmas dinner)…the elusive question remains…
HOW DO WE PIN DOWN OUR CLOUD OF CREATIVITY?
And, keep it spontaneous at the same time?
Right now, the bane of my existence is having a song melody come to me and trying to mentally file it away. It’s just never the same and quite often I totally forget it altogether..
And, that potential creation slips through my fingers like a wispy piece of smoke…
Thankfully, there are a few ideas that can help to pin down your creative cloud:
RECORD – If you have a Chef Genius, record yourself creating a recipe or cooking. Either on a smart phone app, a camera, video camera or have a willing partner write it down as you go happily along.
Narrate out loud what you’re putting into the dish, approx how much of it and what you’re doing to it. What’s cool about video-taping yourself is that if it turns out well, you have an instant video ready for upload on your handy dandy YouTube channel.
So many of my friends who are the Queens (or Kings) of their kitchens like to have spontaneity in the best room of the house. Mixing and matching ingredients based on will and availability without rhyme or reason.
This is a fantastic use of creative flow!
And, I love me some finger-lickin’ good creative flow.
But, while the dish might have turned out super delish, sadly (and saddest for me because, I love being cooked for by Genius Chefs) there is no hope in some instances to ever re-create it.
Recording what you’re doing as you go along will give you something to refer back to and yet won’t stifle your joy of experimentation.
This goes for all you musicians and singers out there, too!
Grab your nearest recording device and hum the melody or tap out a rhythm. Keep stacks of music staff paper at home (if you’re old school) and jot down notes – no matter how basic.
If you have music software – that’s the schnitzel right there! Make sure you keep a clear and detailed digital library for your own good. And, keep sheets of music and lyrics in an alphabetized physical filing system.
When clients or gig opps come a-knockin’, you know exactly what’s where and how to get it.
PREPARE – I’m a budding (actually pre-bud – actually, no - more like a seed underground still hoping to germinate somewhere in the middle of my lifetime) songwriter and poet.
I have been seated in a stalled subway train and had the urge to write a poem or song lyric, only to be met with one crumpled Kleenex in my pocket and a woefully ink-less pen at the bottom of my purse.
One cannot even begin to describe the frustration of a pen-less and paperless poet.
Avoid this travesty and equip yourself with a notebook. I like mine lined, hardback and Walmart cheap accompanied by not one, but a few pens, just in case.
If pen and paper seem archaic – make sure that your device is fully recharged at the end of everyday. When you wake up in the morning you can have the confidence that it won’t conk out on you just when the itch of a brilliant idea burrows under your skin.
SKETCH – Calling all painters, visual artists and fashion designers! Short of strapping an easel around your neck and keeping a couple of paint brushes in your shirt pocket armed with a swath of fabric swatches at all times - the concept is much the same.
Carry a blank sketch book of appropriate size and a case with your charcoals, pencils & even mini-coloured pencils (sometimes, the latter are good for ideas that are screaming colour in your mind).
There exists, of course, some of the latest touch screen technology available which is a top-notch option for artists and designers as featured on shows like “Project Runway’ and other interior decorating shows.
You can design fabric, sketch shapes and clothes with a touch screen wand, expand the image or rotate it with one swipe of a fingertip…It’s just a step down from actual real magic when you’re my age! Ha!
What I love about this “being prepared” approach is that you’re ready to use unexpectedly vacant pockets of time such as being stuck waiting at the doctor’s office, auto shop, when baby is napping or during a boring lecture (just kidding, I’m all for school!) .
Btw, sorta envying the medium of photography right now. Your gifted eyes and sublime sensibilities get to capture things as quickly and as often as your awareness and the close proximity of your camera allows.
However, this next part is the real crux of this whole creative cloud pinning business…
by Priya Devalia
Copyright ©PRIYA H. DEVALIA 2013 All rights reserved