I couldn’t read Part Two of Todd Henry’s “The Accidental Creative” without implementing Henry’s Big Three plan for better creativity in my own life.
He says he always keeps a list of his Big Three projects that have the most desperate need of creativity. He keeps it posted in his office, but he also keeps it in the back of his mind at all times ready to be inspired. He keeps it in mind while he watches movies, reads books and meets new people.
I read an essay last year from one of those literature books meant for schools, but so much more interesting when you stumble upon them on your own. I found my way back to it today thanks to Google. It’s called, “The Eureka Phenomenon” by Isaac Asimov. I guess his concept is fairly well-known, but waas new to me: that you often find solutions to problems weighing on you during a time when you’re not consciously trying to solve them.
It’s a phenomenon I think is interesting to consider in regard to Henry’s Big Three. Doesn’t it seem logical that it might work against the Eureka Phenomenon, forcing the dilemmas to the forefront of your brain so constantly that the effect never has a chance to take place? Or do the two somehow work hand in hand, that to make it to the eureka moment, one must have consciously placed the problems in the brain? I think that’s more likely the answer. Whatever the case, the Big Three technique makes a lot of sense to me.
Henry’s explanation of how the Big Three works centers mostly on the assist it gives your creative projects with focus. We are often nearly overwhelmed with the amount of things we could be working on (true story, iMedia). To give ourselves permission to limit that to the three most important helps us focus. Picking three, he says, also forces us to focus what it is that we’re trying to accomplish.
So naturally, I’m eager to put this into practice. I think as long as I don’t become obsessed with the three projects, I will avoid destroying potential for the Eureka Phenomenon.
I’ve made a list of all my possibilities and according to the qualifications narrowed them. Here are my Big Three:
1. Pushing the homepage of my capstone website to a new level
what can I do with the Events space?
what can I do with the Stories page?
2. Make a decision about where to live next…and pursue it.
3. Finding creative presentation for my Kony 2012 research
I’m not sure if that second one counts, but it’s something that I know I need to take action on and has been just hanging around anxiously on my to-do list.
I’m surprisingly anxious about this list because I know it’s not the three most important things I have to do. Because time is so limited in this program, I’m not sure I should be spending it on less important things. But if they are on my mind even while I talk with my friends on the phone, perhaps that will spark a new kind of creativity. And that is the point I think Henry is trying to make.
I hope the rest of the book also contains helpful suggestions. Until Part Two it was mostly just making me realize how many ways I’ve failed to be creative this year…Still, that information will undoubtedly prove useful in the future.