Author Brad Herzog shows the audience of his TED-x Talk a picture of himself as a young boy. His hair is a mop warming his forehead, and he’s holding a fishing rod whose line has just gone slack. Only we don’t see the fish pulling the line slack in a tell-tale arch; we just see him, holding the fishing rod, looking excitedly at what he caught.
Herzog asks: what if there wasn’t a fish on the end of that line? What else could it be?
Thus begins Herzog’s philosophy on catching creative ideas, or, as he calls it, “turning the mundane into the miraculous.”
Herzog says there’s three stages to doing this: “There’s conceiving the idea, there’s developing the idea, and there’s conveying the idea.” His humorous TED-x talk offers several points on how to do each.
First, to help conceive an idea, Herzog suggests “wondering out loud.” He once wrote a book about an eight inch man who lived in the refrigerator, whose only job was to turn the light on and off when somebody opened it. The inspiration? He was hungry, and went to get a snack when he started wondering about light inside the fridge.
Another tip Herzog offers is to “Counter Conventional Wisdom.” Essentially, this means embracing the element of surprise. Often times, the real story is below the surface. Do some digging during story development to find the real story. Herzog advises patience during this phase; let your idea percolate during the development stage before writing it.
Finally, once your idea is conceived and developed, the final step is to find the right angle which which to portray it. Herzog tells us that having a great idea can mean nothing without “waiting to figure out how to convey the idea.”
What mundane occurrence sparked your creativity today?
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