Creative Time


Any creative process needs some random input. I don’t think I have ever been part of any project where what happens in my life at the time of the creation does not affect the final outcome of what I am producing. It’s natural, and it’s human. And this is something I believe only adds to the final result. But what happens when you force this input? Is it still considered random? Will this more methodical approach destroy the nature of these causalities? Let me explain how I view this matter.

I divide the creative process in two very different categories: the first, experimentation; the second, solutions for defined goals. Both are important but not necessarily the same rules apply to them. When you are experimenting, there is no end result. You do whatever you feel like, and you try as many things as you want to without feeling obliged to show the end result to any other human being. But, when you are searching for a specific solution for a routine, then the creative process changes a bit depending on your goal. And in this second process, you never are as free as in the first type.

You can’t force creativity. It’s a fact. What you can do is work and practice as much as you can to achieve a higher rate of success. But to be creative, you have to be free as well. So, starting creative processes with very defined goals can be damaging for the evolution of one’s own personal growth. I believe one’s first attempts need to be free, small-scaled, and often the result will end up in the drawer. But this is the only way to practice. If you don’t, you will never be able to feel free later when you need to be creative in achieving solutions for defined goals.

Independent of have any project that I am working on, I make a commitment to myself to come up with three new “things” every week. Even if little, this allows me to allocate time to explore. I don’t always achieve this goal but at least spend time exploring. Either by starting with something I newly learned, something I have not read in a long time, or just by combining ideas, playing with cards or connecting dots between different subjects, a creator needs time to be creative and allocating time for this is your responsibility to yourself.

During this period, I often create challenges that use random inputs. For example, this is an example of an exercise you can use: 

  • Pick two plots in magic.

  • Write down a title that begins like one plot and ends like the other. Also, write down the opposite.

  • Pick the title that you like the most and think about what that effect would look like. Would it be good? If so, what could be the method? Would it be interesting to the audience? Write down these findings.

  • If you find an idea for how this can be achieved, go for it.  Work on the method, refine it, and get it ready to try with your friends. Pick intelligent friends to try it with, the hard ones to fool, the ones that will have the most critical eye. Do it. Now. Don’t waste time. Then, once you’ve done it, write down their reactions.

  • What did you learn from this? You will understand if the effect was clear or not, and what can make it easier to follow. You will understand how people think. You will feel if you have blown them away or if they just felt tricked. What can you do to change these things so that everything is clear and looks impossible? Write that down.

  • Upgrade the routine and try it again.

Some results will be surprising, and others will be terrible. That is the nature of exploration. Analyze the good examples and learn from them. What is the structure? Why does it work? How can it be improved if you abandon the plot? There are no rules in exploration, just work. The answers will appear if you take the time to do the work.

Helder Guimaraes