You can’t force creative output. It has to flow organically, borne from knowledge and insight, and guided by a desired outcome. It applies to our brand planning process here at Taylor, and on a more personal note, when I delve into my passions for writing or photography.
I needed a reminder of that recently. Heading into the weekend, I had two “creative projects” on tap. One was write my next blog post, the other was to test the limits of my new camera to see how it faired in the crisp, fading light of a late February afternoon in New York – when I do my best work. So while walking though midtown on Saturday, I was struck with a double dose of creative block. A few ideas for the blog trickled weakly through my mind before screeching to an abrupt halt. Too forced, uninspired, no POV. So I blocked out my writers block and turned my attention to the viewfinder of my Nikon Coolpix. Winter light, especially when it melts away slowly and colorfully into the cold dusk air, is my inspiration. And when it bounces around the city landscape, it’s pure magic.
But I was getting nowhere. The images were too forced, uninspired, no original POV. Sound familiar? Again, I was trying to force the creative process. I needed to take a step back. And I needed a soft pretzel. So a little later, as I headed into Central Park and as the light began to fade, I thought of a quote I once read from renowned photographer Lee Friedlander. “You don’t have to go looking for pictures. The material is generous. You go out and the pictures are staring at you.” That was it! I was too busy looking for the pictures and had lost sight of the desired outcome. I just had to take a step back and find the right vantage point. I needed to be inspired. And sure enough, the pictures began to stare at me. I let the creative process flow naturally, and my versatile little Nikon delivered in the clutch.
So the photographer’s block was gone, but the writers block persisted. Where was my insight, my POV? Should I write about the NFL labor dispute? Maybe one last word on Super Bowl advertising? I wasn’t feeling it. But the next day, it hit me while riding the F train: I pulled the camera from my backpack and flipped though my photos from the day before then thought about the process by which I captured these images. You go out and the pictures are staring at you. The idea for my blog post now worked its way gently through my mind.
I hope you enjoyed reading it.