#4 Discovering what you want to create and following where it leads you
So now that you have, hopefully, decided to do something special this year and made space and time for creating, you are ready to get started on actually creating something new. Of course, that then raises the question — what to you want to create?
Capture your thoughts and ideas
For me, I often capture ideas about items, programs, photographs, podcasts and more that I want to create in my handwritten journal. You do have a journal, right? How are you going to capture the important thoughts and ideas in your life if you don’t have somewhere to capture them? While I am a technology lover, I find that capturing raw, fleeting ideas is best done with a pen and paper. If you know me personally, you will nearly always see me with my journal in hand. Years ago I started carrying a purse and one of the biggest reasons for that was so I could carry all my technology AND my paper journal. You don’t have to use paper, of course. It is far more important to keep a journal rather than worrying about how you keep it. Use your phone, your computer, the back of your hand, whatever, but capture the ideas.
For more information on how I use my paper journal, check out this Snapguide on the topic
Now, what do you need to learn?
Once you start collecting ideas, you are sure to come across ideas that require a bit more learning to make them happen. Maybe you need to learn a bit more about watercolor technique, or how to us a CNC machine or 3-D Printer. Perhaps you need a bit more research into a historical novel you are writing or want to better understand how and why encryption can and should be used in today’s high-tech world.
We you are presented with questions related to your project, do what I do. Immediately start researching the topic on the Internet AND at your local library. Take 5 minutes to follow your interests and you will be greatly rewarded. You don’t have to dedicate hours to your research, but dive in and see what resources might be out there. I find that this research always spurs me on to more action — exactly what you need to create more in your life.
Two of my biggest sources for research are probably the most common for everyone — Google (or your other favorite search engine) and YouTube. Yes, that’s right, YouTube — source of mindless cat videos and screaming pranksters, right? Wrong! YouTube is one of the finest sources available today to help you learn nearly everything. Do many people dismiss it, often because they have never really engaged in the wealth of resources it holds.
When I started to learn about Arduino and Raspberry Pi computers I found tutorial after tutorial to help speed my on my way to actually using the devices. The best videos are like having a friend take you through a lesson, step-by-step, leaving you with something completed and concrete at the end. Even the worst videos can contain a tidbit of information or links that might lead you to even better sources elsewhere. Do not underestimate the power of YouTube to jumpstart your creativity and education, whether you want to learn about knitting, leatherwork, Raspberry Pi computers or raspberry Pie (the actual pie!) (LAUGH) I simply cannot quantify how much I have learned there over the years.
Go where they lead you
The other phenomenonal power of Google, YouTube and other online resources is that they can trigger creative thoughts and start you on a creative journey that perhaps you have never contemplated. I subscribe to a variety of YouTube channels so that I get a notification of each new video the channel creator release. While I might not watch every video, everything in their channel — and in my subscriptions — is potentially something I might like to watch. In many ways, along with Netflix and a few other video sources, YouTube has become the bulk of my daily video viewing.
An example of my channel subscriptions on YouTube
My subscriptions and viewing habits also means that YouTube can suggest other videos, from other creators, that I might find interesting. Nearly every day this leads me into another area of creativity. Recently, YouTube turned up videos on paper marbling, based on some other videos I had watch on artistic procedures. After watching a few of these videos, I am planning on trying my hand at paper marbling, at least in some small way. There are simple water and ink methods that you can do with just a few supplies, so it is easy to try it out and see what happens. I love this serendipetous discovery of new and amazing areas of knowledge and creativity and they simply pop up in my YouTube feed each day.
Once I find a YouTube Channel, web site or blog that I like, I can then use another tool to constantly monitor that source for new material and ideas. I use Feedly to subscribe to hundreds of blogs and websites from around the world. Feedly has replaced my daily newspaper and magazine reading much in the same way that YouTube has replaced network television. Each day I turn to my Feedly feed and find a host of new articles, photographs,projects and ideas. If you follow my blogs, you have probably seen me share some of the best of these blog posts there.
Why reading apps and a page from Feedly
An example story from my Clipboard reading an My Flipboard Magazines
Further, whenever I am rambling about the Internet via links or a search engine, when I find a particularly great blog, I add it to my Feedly feeds, so it becomes part of my own, daily, customized newspaper or magazine, along with all my other sources. In this way I don’t even really have to go out searching for new information and ideas. Instead, it arrives in an easily readable (and shareable) form right on my phone, tablet and computer. Without Feedly and the blogs I follow, I would much less well informed about the world and miss many new ideas to further my own creativity.
Follow wherever your creativity and your sources lead you. You never know what amazing things you might find there!
Previously on Do It!: