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Strokes of Genius: Here’s How the Most Creative People Get Their Ideas | TIME

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

Via Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity:

Creativity started with the notebooks’ sketches and jottings, and only later resulted in a pure, powerful idea. The one characteristic that all of these creatives shared— whether they were painters, actors, or scientists— was how often they put their early thoughts and inklings out into the world, in sketches, dashed-off phrases and observations, bits of dialogue, and quick prototypes. Instead of arriving in one giant leap, great creations emerged by zigs and zags as their creators engaged over and over again with these externalized images.

She heard it over and over again in the interviews and read it in different forms in every notebook.

Via Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity:

    • 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.”
    • English writer Jessica Mitford engaged in a constant dialogue with her unfolding drafts: “The first thing to do is read over what you have done the day before and rewrite it. And then that gives you a lead into the next thing to do.”
    • The painter Ben Shahn described creativity as “the long artistic tug-of-war between idea and image.”
    • Poet May Sarton wrote, “The poem teaches us something while we make it; there is nothing dull about revision.”

It was never a clean, linear process.

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