Creative thought process
About a week ago, our lead teaching pastor, Merle Mees, snagged me from my cubicle saying he needed to “pick my brain.” Unsure of what to expect, I followed him into a conference room with a giant white board. He turned to me and said, “There are no wrong answers and this is not a quiz. There is a reason for my madness.” Confused, I nodded my head. Then he said proceeded to ask me a number of question about my thought process. What are the first things that pop into my head when someone throws an idea to me? Textures. Colors. The layout of a piece. Simply put, the design of things. Words dont generally pop out to me, and I rarely hear a melody play through my head. The measurements and budget don’t run through my head right away either. The visual design is what hits me first.
Then he threw out a topic: family. Given that wide topic for a sermon series, how would i go about coming up with a theme, concept, title for this series?
I talked about the “typical” idea that pops into my head first. That is an idea i almost always try to destroy, because it’s so common that everyone would think of it. (i.e. families-“family matters” spin off. everyone copies the culture.)
I explained that after i destroy that typical idea, i try to think outside of the box. What has never been done before? What is catchy? What is simple and clear?
I explained that my creative thought process starts large, and works down to small. When i think of a concept, I think of what an auditorium would look like on a Sunday morning when i walked in. What do i want to see? What experience do i want to feel? What things do I want to blow me away? And then i work my way smaller…what do we need to do to accomplish this large goal? I dont think about time or money or energy in my initial brainstorming…the sky is the limit.
Never restrict the creative process.
I had never had someone quiz me on my creative thought process before. I learned a lot about myself in those 15 minutes. I think from big to small. I think visually. I think in textures, colors, images. I think without restriction. I think in ways that will stretch me to reach the “wow” factor. I still dont know how i get there…and a lot of times i dont…but at least now i know a bit about my creative thought process.
Merle went on to use me as an example to their Creative Planning team to challenge them to think more creatively, to stretch outside of the box, and to not let restrictions hinder the amazing ideas that might come about.
How do you creatively think?