Poetry prompt: Work with opposites
Many of us get trapped in ordinary, routine thinking which makes it hard to get into a mood of generating fresh and innovative ideas. We routinely get up every morning, brush our teeth, drink coffee, go to work – mostly every day at a same time, using the same route…And to tell you the truth, it can be a creativity killer. What we need is to mix up things a little bit, challenge our habits, language and way of thinking.
We are also aware that we do live in the world comprised of opposites. In Chinese philosophy and especially in Taoism, Universe is seen through the lens of yin and yang energy, male and female, strong and weak, dark and bright, cold and warm. Perceiving reality from the opposite side can give us clue in which direction we need to move forward in order to sort things out.
So for this exercise, as a warm up I propose you pick some ordinary words, something you frequently use in your language and list the opposite meaning of that word; first that comes to your mind.
sky – bottom, ground
water – dry, yellow, sand
coffee – tea, sweet, cold
work – vacation, free time, relaxation
Do this for a limited time, maybe five to ten minutes. The idea of these warming up exercises is to somehow ‘flush out’ that ordinary thinking, and give room for more ideas to come and encourage creative problem solving.
As a next step you can pick your real problem/project you are working on and apply similar technique. If you repeatedly struggle with something, “turn over” your thinking: instead of trying to develop your best solution, think of the worst thing could happen. How can your project fail? What is the worst scenario? Write every detail of that, using some key words related to your project and answering questions when, how, who, why, how much ext. To make it more fun, write a poem about it.
The blank paper stares at me.
It only not stares: it mocks me.
Whiteness like huge mouth ready
to swallow me.
Mind wages its own war –
Not enough wordly munition to spit,
to fill the blanks of my hollow day.
Pain depletes creative power,
dressing me in new fear: when I
will I write full time again?
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