As creative people we have lots of ideas floating around. This is because we have lots of influences that we draw from on a day to day basis. We get inspired by our favourite artiste, our experiences, stuff we see on the road. We have so many ideas we often forget about it.
The good thing is creativity and ideas are not in short supply but the problem comes when finishing stuff off and getting it out to the world. Could this be a procrastination problem or just lack of time. Or worse, not knowing how to polish off our ideas and turn them into something useful.
Before we dive into the process of shaping ideas one must understand what a finish product looks like. Also the process it takes to get to that point. This can be rewarding when you spend time to go through that refining process.
Know what the end is.
Knowing the end will give you a template to work with when blending ideas together. This is having a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve. Whether your writing songs for your next album or creating beats, taking pictures, writing poetry or painting on a canvas. Whatever you do know what a finished product is. So that you can share with your audience .
Draw from your influences, and make a list of the best products you see out there and use that as a marker and a guide for what you are trying to achieve. This will be your guide when editing your work. For example this could be a list of songs you admire that you listen to over and over again. This could be pictures that you look at, that gives you a look that you want to achieve. This could be paintings that you love have a certain technique you’re a trying to master.
When you do this, it gives you a structure that you can borrow to arrange your ideas for testing later. It is always good to keep a running list. Austin Kleon says it’s good to steal from other people. This will ultimately help the creative process later.
Deconstruct the target and put it back together
When you have a template, or a goal that you are trying to achieve, now is time to deconstruct it and put the pieces together. What you’ll be looking for is how these people did what they did, what are the decisions that they made and how you can do the same.
I used to do this all the time trying to recreate drum patterns from some of my favourite producers when i hear tracks i loved. The Game’s Dream drum track produced by Kanye West, Come Over by Estelle and Sean Paul done by Supa Dubs not to mention trying to recreate the melody line from Lean On by Major Lazer.
All this helps in learning new techniques and different ways to do things. In my case make great beats and music. Your situation might be different but the end result is the same. Austin talks about this alot in his book Steal like an Artist.
After the deconstructing the work you’ve chosen and put it back together in some shape or form use what you have learnt about putting together a final piece or work to good use. Now is time to draw from your idea box and assemble them together.
Polish of the rough edges
With the template and the deconstruction phase you should be motivated to try stuff out. Here is a snapshot of what that looks like.
If you’re a songwriter, a chorus idea here, a line for a verse there, and random phrase that can be used for a hook or a bridge, a chord progression here, and a few random melody ideas. Put that together and you have a version of a song. This will be your starting point. Once you go over it you can now refine those random pieces and create a song that you can record and share with your fans.
If you’re a photographer you might find poses for a model for your next photoshoot to try, different angles for wedding you might test out and so on. You can test them out on your dog, or get your spouse to pose for you while you try your ideas out to refine the skill and technique.
I hope you start getting the idea. Refine the ideas into something that you can now share with your fans.
When you’re finished with these mashup of ideas you would be amazed at what the final piece looks like or sounds like. Because once you’re done refining the creative piece you now have one more project for your portfolio.
Share what you have created
Now that you have spent the time to refine your idea into a finish product don’t sit on it hoping that you can get the chance to share it. Just share it and get it out there. You have something that is very useful to someone else other than yourself and you should not be afraid of just letting the world know that you have created something. Even if its not perfect in your eyes.
The ideas for this post was inspired by Austin Kleon’s book Steal like an artist and Share your work.
I really love the message in these two books they have helped me out alot and hope the ideas will help you too.
PS. The link is not an affiliate link just so you know.