The Germination of Creative Thought

I had one of those eureka creative moments this afternoon. They don’t come around too often, but I love them when they do unexpectedly overwhelm me.

I get creative thoughts all the time. Most of them develop slowing, typically while I’m working on something. One thought will lead to another and the creative process will takes it slow and winding time down the avenue of creativity in my mind.

But today, it wasn’t one  of those slow developing thoughts. It was a brilliant connection in my mind, which immediately led to a distinct image, and a specific plan of how I wanted to do something.

Why do these eureka moments happen? How can I replicate them more often?

I have no idea.

Here’s how this one worked. Yesterday, I was talking to a colleague and we made some production plans for next year. After that meeting, I knew I wanted to find an idea for writing a new short musical which would match with our goals. Nothing was coming to me.

I was in the middle of grading some papers, a mind-numbingly boring task, so I put in some music in the background. My thoughts wandered back and forth between the songs and the papers in front of me. I hadn’t given the musical any type of thought for the entire day.

One song came on and when I heard the chorus for the first time, my brain lit up and I saw this image in my mind and I knew what I had: I had discovered the idea for my musical. It was based on the song title. It was brilliant. I started drawing a picture of it, then I wrote done some associated words, and  before I knew it, I had written a couple lines of sample lyrics. It was a creative epiphany.

Why did it come at that moment? I have no idea. It’s not the first time I had heard this song. But it is the first time I heard this song under the circumstances of wanting to find an idea for a musical. I haven’t even listened to that album for a long time, but it struck an amazing, creative chord this time.

So are creative ideas like this completely random?  Or did I sow the seeds of this idea by what I was discussing yesterday?

There’s no real way to know the answer to those questions. But I wish I could, because I’d love to replicate the eureka creative moments as often as possible, because it is so cool when it becomes that clear.

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