An oldie but a goodie - written in 1965 by James Young. Read Kirby Ferguson's summary: Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas

My paraphrasing:

  1. Gather input
  2. Let it stew
  3. Walk away from it for a while
  4. Listen for the "ding" that says the idea is ready
  5. Serve it up, share it, make it real

The "collect words" advice is quite topical for me. I have always liked words (the latest addition being "polymath"). And I have recently started learning Arabic.

Interestingly, I go through the exact same 5 steps. I often have multiple idea tracks running in parallel - each at a different stage of the 5 steps. The Drop It stage for track 1 can mean moving my brain onto the Gather New Material step for track 2. Fun!

Given the enduring nature of this book, I wouldn't be surprised if the author had his finger smack on the "universal" creative process. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

As for Kirby's thoughts at the end - the only one I disagree with is his take on the computer as only a tool for execution, not ideas generation. The freedom a wordprocessor provides for moving concepts around is invaluable for me. But this the subject for the next post.