Unexpected random collections of thoughts can lead to compelling journeys.
Authors put them in books, directors put them in films, ‘creatives’ write, draw, paint, sculpt, bricolage and re-assemble, taking what might be random things and applying a narrative to them.
I realised recently that my interest is in the elements to create the narrative, not building the narrative first. The narrative is the path and the elements are the milepoints, the asides, the distractions and side-quests that don’t, on their own seem to matter but, once seen as a whole – like a jigsaw – seem to make perfect sense.
Knowing the end goal, the final image, the completed path matters completely. But over-specifying it, limits creativity.
My son used to ‘graze’ the Encyclopedia Britannica when he was 6 or 7. He’d ask us something, we’d help him look it up and he’d send himself down a pathway that would take him from Greek gods to space travel. Try this – I did something similar on Saturday – I looked up one article I was interested in (about microcopy) and followed my nose, looking up other elements that the piece sparked. After 20 or so steps I ended up looking at the prices of the blackest paint in the world:
I’ve followed the history back and have captured some of the pages in my Pocket account. I don’t know when I might need them, and if I don’t after a while, I’ll get rid of them.
However, having them at hand, I’m sure it will make designing a future narrative much easier.