Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice
The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice by Todd Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Many people believe that you're either creative or you're not, but Todd Henry's "The Accidental Creative" will challenge those beliefs.

In this book, not only does Henry argue that one can become more creative, he also says that building more structure in one's life will bring more creativity to those who are already creative.

Those of us who are creative would rather not hear those things as we usually identify ourselves as creative, as in it's a thing you are or aren't (although we really know that everyone can be creative). Also, hose of us who have creative-type jobs enjoy being messy and waiting for the ideas to just come to us.

However, I have to admit that Henry's ideas of adding more structure probably does allow you to come up with more ideas. After all, we all know our best ideas come when we are working on something else, so wouldn't it make sense that we'd need to schedule some of that time to "something else?"

Many of the concepts he uses is similar to the concepts in "Getting Things Done" by David Allen, such as having reviews, carrying a notebook for ideas, but he goes further in that he suggests we eliminate or "prune" some of our projects and activities so that we can focus on others.

I like the idea he has of setting up your year by quarters and deciding which projects should be focused on during each, even planning your reading activities by what you are focusing on to ensure the greatest ideas.

For someone who has a lot of ideas, this narrowing down ideas can prove a wonderful way to finally finish some projects and move on to others. I've noticed this in writing a children's book with friends. The further along we go, the more book ideas we have, but if we stopped and started on the other ideas right away we wouldn't be nearing the end of the process. Instead we each write down and tell each other the basic premise and then when we are done with this first book we will decide on our next two to three we would like to focus on in the next year and decide on one to actually write and illustrate next.

Some of the things I'd like to incorporate are meeting more often with creative friends to purposely discuss creative ideas, setting aside an hour a week to devote to new ideas and weeding out some of the ideas I don't yet have time to focus on. I'd also like to do some more long-term planning for my life, so I can determine which projects are most important.

If you're struggling to maintain the creative ideas you need to manifest in your career or daily life, then this book will inspire you to come up with the structure to ensure the ideas continue throughout your life.

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