3 ways to explore

Tips for foraging from the author of IdeaSpotting

Einstein used to spend 55 minutes exploring for every five minutes he spent coming up with ideas, says Sam Harrison, the author of IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea.

3 ways to explore

Let’s go! Need an idea? Get out in the world and find one. Image by Amanda Sandlin

Clearly foraging — the feed-your-brain step of the creative process — is essential to inventiveness.

Here are three types of foraging every creative person should engage in, Harrison says:

  1. Firing-range exploring. That’s targeted research for a specific project.
  2. Free-range exploring, or looking for inspiration, influences and ideas on a daily basis — while traveling, seeing new movies, reading odd magazines, checking out hot restaurants and exhibits.
  3. Exploring to find passion. Here’s a Zen tip: “If something bores you for five minutes, try it for 10,” Harrison says. “Eventually, you’ll get excited about it.”

One of the great things about being a creative person is the license it gives you to explore, learn and grow.

“Are you filling your life with work?” asks Harrison. “Or are you filling your work with life?”

  • Get to Aha!

    Master a creative process that works with — not against — your brain

    Want to come up with fresher, faster, more inspired story ideas and writing insights?

    Get to Aha! Master a creative process that works with — not against — your brain

    Welcome to the wonderful world of the creative process.

    At Master the Art of the Storyteller — our two-day hands-on creative-writing master class on July 25-26 in Portland — you’ll master a five-step creative process that helps you produce more and better ideas. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Write while washing the dishes: Find out why taking a walk, a nap or a break is actually part of the creative process.
    • Treat writer’s block, procrastination and formulaic thinking: When you understand the creative process, you can end-run some of the common problems that writers and editors face.
    • Avoid "creative incest": Stop creating communications that are dull replicas of the same thing you did last year — and the year before that.

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Source: Sam Harrison, the author of IdeaSpotting: How to Find Your Next Great Idea, How, 2006

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