In writing about creativity and AI recently, I started reflecting on my own creative process. While I love making things, I’ve always questioned whether or not I’m truly creative. However, I’ve come to realize that my creativity stems from gathering inspiration from various sources and transforming those ideas into something unique.
To ensure that no idea slips through the cracks, I rely on Simplenote — a tool for jotting down notes. These notes serve as a repository for all the thoughts and inspirations that come my way. They act as reminders for future projects or concepts worth exploring, and they follow me everywhere since the app is on my phone, tablet, and computer and syncs automatically.
Bookmarking for the Future
I follow a lot of developers and love to see, and try, new apps and games. Often I enjoy them, but sometimes I find myself thinking, “I could make this better.” and then I start thinking about how I would do that. This habit of critically analyzing existing creations helps me refine ideas by imagining alternative approaches or improvements.
Recreating Art in My Style
Art has always been a source of inspiration for me. When I come across captivating artwork or photographs, I save screenshots or copies of the images. I have quite a large directory of images that I can use for inspiration for both hand-drawn and 3d art (Amongst many hobbies I’m trying to learn Blender). However, keeping a scrapbook (scrapfolder) makes it much easier for me to find inspiration when I do want to do arty things. I can quickly create mood boards or just browse through the images and find things that inspire me.
Letting Ideas Simmer
Once all these ideas have been gathered, they marinate in the depths of my mind—a big old melting pot where creativity simmers. I don’t rush to execute every idea immediately. Instead, I let them percolate over time until the right moment arrives.
For me, creativity is a combination of various sources inspiring me coupled with time for those inspirations to evolve into something uniquely mine. There’s a quote commonly, and incorrectly, attributed to Picasso that says:
Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal
I don’t consider myself a great artist or coder. However, what I find myself doing is taking basic ideas from others and transforming them into something entirely my own—a technique that powers my creative process.