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Strokes of genius: Here's how the most creative people get their ideas

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Great opening:

Keith Sawyer tells an interesting story about breakthrough ideas in his book, Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity.

Researcher Vera John-Steiner wanted to know What nourishes sustained productivity in the lives of creative individuals?

She interviewed over 70 living creative geniuses and analyzed the notebooks of 50 dead ones (including Tolstoy, Einstein, etc.) to look at their work habits.

She assumed this was going to end up as a review of Eureka! moments in the greatest creative minds.

She even planned to title her book “The Leap” because it would be about those giant flashes of inspiration that led to breakthrough ideas.

But she was completely wrong.

Eureka! moments turned out to be a myth.

There was no inspiration moment where a fully formed answer arrived.

Strokes of genius happened over time.

A great idea comes into the world by drips and drabs, false starts, and rough sketches.

You really want to read the rest:

Albert Einstein always said he thought in pictures: “Words do not play any role in my thought; instead, I think in signs and images which I can copy and combine.

It was never a clear, linear process.

Stop expecting inspiration to deliver a finished product.

Write all your ideas down as early as possible. It’s no surprise so many of the geniuses kept notebooks.

Evernote will also do.

  • Stop discarding half-baked ideas. Those crappy ideas are the good ideas — they just need work.
  • Don’t think your first idea is the right one. And don’t think it’s perfect as-is.

Eric's article has a lot more:

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