Experiencing a creative block? Dare to compare!

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Every one once in a while we face a challenging situation to solve some problem, find an answer to a question; brainstorm an innovative idea. And that got me thinking: what if we challenge ourselves even more? What would happen with our creative flow? Now, I’m not thinking about putting pressure on ourselves, yet we all know we can ‘move’ ourselves towards productive creativity through certain exercises, but creativity is still kinda unpredictable.

What I mean by challenge, I mean challenging us by comparing the problem to something else.

In poetry is very well known technique called similes. Its purpose is to compare two things, so examples of simile poems include any poem that makes comparisons using the words “like” or “as.” Two things compared don’t have to be alike (in poetry usually they are not), and they create different images in our mind, making correlations and connections that doesn’t actually exist. If we apply this to our creative thinking, we are training our creative muscle; it gives us an opportunity to conceptualize different solutions and approaches in problem solving.

Examples of similes in poetry might include something like:

Your eyes were dark as a night without moonlight.

Blank page is like an empty canvas where I paint with my words.

So next time you have trouble getting in your creative mood, try this exercise:

You write down your question/problem and try to find a simile….”My problem is like I…..and finish the sentence. The idea is here for you to challenge yourself to find a similar problem in a completely different life area.

If you have a trouble finding inspiration to start writing, for example, try to remember how it felt when you were trying something else new: a sport, travel, diet, even reading a new book, or developing a new habit? How did you manage to start a new activity? What made you want to stick to your new routine?

Write down your similes and try to analyze them. What of the written ideas you can translate in a given problem? As you brainstorm and think of your answers, probably this will trigger even some emotional response that can act like a drive for generating a flow of new ideas.

You might not get the desired outcome all at once, but using this effective brainstorming tool can distract your attention from a problem. In this way, making distance in your view, will help you get more objective and consider some approaches that might actually work.

9 Comments

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  1. This seems very similar to analogical thinking – it’s not just useful for solving creative problems, I believe it’s a useful way to think, in general; as it draws on our connection not just to the problem at hand, but to other things and situations around us. Using poetry to solve other, non-poetic problems is, within itself, a very wonderful and clever idea!

    Liked by 1 person

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