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  • Writer's pictureTom Webb Filmmaker

Doodle or Noodle

Being creative on demand can be very difficult. If you are anything like me then creativity is something that comes in waves and often out of nowhere. So how do you try and kick start the creative process without forcing it?

Understanding my own creativity is something I have worked on a lot over the last few years. It often felt very chaotic and sporadic and inspiration never struck when I needed it. Creativity is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets. I thought I would write a blog about how I keep my creativity flowing and the tools I use to support it.

The Ideas Book

The first thing I started doing was keeping an ideas book. I got my first one in 2002 and I am still using them to this day. They are small hardback plain paper notebooks and I keep one to hand most of the time. If inspiration strikes then the idea goes in the book. The idea can be anything, the point is to write it down and capture it. Quite often I find that the initial idea or inspiration is just a spark for something else and it may end up being used in a totally unrelated project to the one I initially thought of. The process plays into the way my brain is naturally creative. Waiting for the idea and then riding that wave of creativity until it fades out. This method is all well and good but it isn’t much help on projects with short deadlines. So how do I get my brain to create those sparks that become ideas? First I flick through my ideas book to see if there is anything I already have that would be a good starting point. If there is nothing there then I move on to the second method.

Doodle or Noodle

I start doing something creative that has nothing to do with the project I need to think about. If I have a notepad or piece of paper in front of me I start doodling. I just draw random things with no artistic intention or merit. I focus on the doodling which forces the project I want to work on back into my subconscious but I maintain the state of creative thinking. Anyone can do this, all you need is a piece of paper and a pen.

Now I know what you are thinking, what the hell have noodles got to do with this, does cooking help the creative process? Well it might for some but for me noodling is about music. I will often sit at my desk with a guitar on my lap and play. I’m not playing songs, just letting my hands and fingers do what they want. Music is a great source of inspiration and if playing it is not your thing then perhaps create a playlist that captures the essence of your project on your streaming platform of choice, which you can have on to help keep you in the right zone.

I am willing to admit that this second method might not be great if you are in an office or having creative meetings with a group of colleagues. A similar idea can be used though. Some of the most productive and creative meetings I have been a part of, have used things like Lego and Playdoh as a way to get the creative parts of the brain engaged. It is amazing what people will create when presented with the opportunity to do so. Having a big box of random lego pieces in the middle of a meeting table is a pretty fun and cost effective way to increase your creativity and by extension productivity.

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