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Tag Archives: think tank

2 Ways to focus like Yoda.

We all need to focus every day to get our art done and to ship it, means to put it in front ot an audience. Unfortunately it’s become more and more difficult to focus well. Too much stuff going on in the world.

No, wait. There’s always been the same amount of stuff going on, but now we just get interrupted by it more often. Constantly.

If you want to get things done, there are two simple ways to get into the zone.

1. Don’t read the news (or any other publication).
Stop buyng newspapers, magazines etc. Read the headlines on your way to the coffeeshop. The really important news will reach you no matter what. Just don’t actively bring that kind of noise into your system.

2. Work, then switch on your computer.
The easiest way to shut off the noise is to NOT switch it on in the first place. If you have work that needs to get done, do it first, then, AFTER you’re done, switch on the noise if you need to.

Mindmapping For Songwriters

mindmapping has become one of my favourite activities when it comes to brainstorming ideas. I use it now almost anytime I take notes. the creativity flow is increased so much that it’s almost hard to stop.

I use it to:

brainstorm ideas
search for words to write lyrics
make decisions (on almost any topic)
finding topics for blogposts
determine to-do’s
track recording processes
track my practicing process
find solutions to problems
overcome writer’s block
do 80/20 analyses of my work and life
do interviews
…and more

basically anything I write down these days ends up to be a mind map.
at the end they look like a big idea-virus, a piece of art, and it’s so easy to go from one central keyword or idea to an infinite set of ideas and phrases linked directly to the initial idea. many times I stumble upon new and never before thought of angles of the same idea or problem.

I tried to find software that is as much fun as doing it by hand. the software I found so far is either too complicated to use or the look and feel is to dry, the handling of the software kills the creative mind-flow.

I think, anyway, when it comes to brainstorming and idea development using a computer or other technical device is drawing the attention away from the subject and the mind flow is distorted.

the technique is especially helpful when you write lyrics and you need to get words, phrases, even storylines sorted out.

this is how I do it:

1. start in the middle of a piece of paper, write down my central idea or phrase or word.
2. I write down all related ideas around that central idea and connect them with a line
3. I then repeat this with all the new findings. you’ll spread your mind in all directions and you’ll end up with a pretty cool idea-virus and everything is connected to the one little idea in the middle of the paper.

I recommend to do this as often as possible to get into the habit.
you can filter the different mindstreams which flow from the central idea by giving them different colors, so you’ll immediately see what relates to each other.

happy mapping.

tell me what the most surprising a-ha experience you got from doing mindmapping your ideas in the comments.

(photo by philippe boukobza under a cc attribution license )

Think Tank

lock yourself up and do only music for a set amount of time. 1-3  hours a day, a whole day, 2 days, one week etc…

during that time nothing, really nothing, may interfere with what you do! you draw a circle around yourself and don’t let any of the day to day business get into that circle. nothing and noone gets in!

exclude everybody and everything! only take care of your artistry in the think tank. you’d be surprised how much faster you get ahead if you deliberately exclude things and people from your “artist time”.

think tank does not involve organisational work, either. only artistry.

eliminate and exclude, no limits!