Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Prolific Framework: A Comprehensive Program for Collecting, Creating and Communicating Ideas

Prolific is my new intellectual property development system.

It’s a comprehensive program that guides people through the art and science of collecting, creating and communicating their ideas. And the framework I’m building will eventually become a book, a curriculum and some kind of software application. 

Imagine The Artist’s Way meets Getting Things Done meets Behind the Music.

The goal is to change the way you think about the way you think. Because it’s more than just a collection of exercises; it’s a rubric for operable behaviors at all stages and levels of the creative process. 

Today we’re going explore The Prolific Framework.

There are three stages of the creative process, as modeled after the human body’s primary respiratory functions:

·      Inhaling. The creative season of content inspiration, or input, and listening for what wants to be written.
·      Pausing. The creative season of content intermission, or throughput, and managing your ideas as an inventory system.
·      Exhaling. The creative season of content expression, or output, and shipping work out of the factory.

Which season do you find yourself in right now?

Artists are confronted with a unique set of challenges on a daily basis, each of which correspond to one of above seasons of the creative process:

A.    Inhaling / Input Problems

·      Focus. I can’t get clarity on what to attack.
·      Blocks. I can’t overcome resistance to production.
·      Motivation. I can’t get my sorry ass out of bed to create.
·      Consistency. I can’t sustain the flow of creativity.
·      Originality. I can’t create work that’s unique.
·      Priority. I can’t decide which action comes next.

What’s the major input problem you’re working through right now?

B.    Pausing / Throughput Problems

·      Anxiety. I can’t remember all my ideas.
·      Disorganization. I can’t keep all my thoughts organized.
·      Strategy. I can’t deicide how to use my ideas.
·      Paralysis. I can’t deal with chronic indecision and overplanning.

What’s the major throughput problem you’re working through right now?

C.   Exhaling / Output Problems

·      Volume. I can’t create in large and consistent quantities.
·      Originality. I can’t find my authentic voice.
·      Priority. I can’t decide which work to prioritize.
·      Laziness. I can’t get into a consistent creative routine
·      Movement. I can’t get projects started.

What’s the major output problem you’re working through right now?

Artists can overcome any of the above problems by using one of more of the following tools, disciplines, techniques or routines, each of which correspond to the aforementioned  seasons:

A.    Inhaling / Input Tools

These tools will reduce doubt, keep creative production going, give you an exquisite understanding of your own creative timing and help you find out where your creativity feels most at home:

·      Bacon. A motivational currency that overrides your excuses, activates your natural inclinations and moves you to execution.
·      Buffaloing. Keeping all of our passions in play, investing in multiple containers of meaning, using our strengths to do what we do best and leaving no faculty untapped.
·      Existential Anchor. A portable, purposeful and private sanctuary that brings you back to center to reconnect with the self, the body, the spirit and the heart.

These tools will eliminate creative blocks for life, assure you never face a blank canvas again, help you live life in a way that your art gets done over and over and keep your spirit from being parched and dry:

·      Awareness Plan. A metacognitive procedure or mental recipe for perceiving and thinking about the environment around you, a lens for interacting with the world. 
·      Ritualized Vomiting. A daily ritual of emotional release where you metabolize your experiences, make serious mental headway into your ideas and get the creative faucet flowing. 
·      Faithful Forces. Routines that keep your creative life stable and fruitful when circumstances get a little too overwhelming.

These tools will help you create productively despite mood or time constraints, allow you to get better, smarter, stronger and sharper with everything you create and establish a gentle flow that obfuscates procrastination:

·      Creative Commitment. Professionalizing your art and using daily momentum to keep yourself from feeling detached from the process.
·      Commitment Device. A physical object or prototype that makes the effects of your work real and visible for all to see, even in the early stages of production.
·      Prototyping. Something that gives your mental obsession a physical expression, a physical thing that adds energy to the system.

These tools will help you find fresh fuel for fresh ideas, get the creative faucet flowing, help you consistent generate compelling content, assure your process isn’t driven and dictated by time pressure and help you immediately access creative energy:

·      Unconscious Rumination. Allowing your inner mind to get to work mulling over, sorting out, organizing and categorizing material that has been previously absorbed.
·      On Ramp. A ritual that prompts a work mindset, a moment that merges you into the creative process, an environment that sets a tone that says work happens here.
·      Creative Subroutine. Using a ritual that brings up your energy and snaps you into the appropriate state of mind to do your work.

These tools will create a unique, unreplicatable inspiration pool, help you stay prolific over long arc career, assure you never run out of things to say and build unlimited contextual reservoirs to inspire you:

·      Inspiration Framework. Metacognitive, ritualistic or recreational tactics for finding inspiration where no one else is looking.
·      Hyperfocused Expression. Whatever little world you investigate to a great, high level, something that fascinates and ignites you.
·      Disturbance. Well intentioned monkey wrenches that make your work emotionally provocative, constructively challenging and delightfully disturbing.

These tools will help you enter into flow state quicker, reconnect to the body to give
your brain cues and train your mind to receive what wants to be written:

·      Solvitas Perambulator. Using rhythmic, repetitive exercise or action to clear your mind, stabilize your emotions and increase the production and release of endorphins to pump the well of creativity. 
·      Physical Displacement. A problem solving technique whereby working in unusual settings helps you see patterns you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
·      Boundary Moment. Existential distresses or identity crises in which our motivation for doing something is just to feel normal again.

B.    Pausing / Throughput Tools

These tools will help you in processing your ideas quickly, managing your creative workflow intelligently and freeing up your working memory and opens your mind to receive new ideas:

·      Making Room. Relieving your brain the necessity of remembering, freeing up your working memory to opens your mind to receive new ideas.
·      Ground Zero. The entry point into the creative processing workflow, the primary location for offloading raw materials into your idea factory.
·      Deep Democracy. Treat everything we encounter with fundamental affirmation and radical acceptance.

These ideas will help you be less derailed by rejection and more confident in your work, create fertile ground where the spark of conception keeps firing every time you sit down to work and give yourself an objective view of what your mind really wants to produce:

·      Working Modular. Treating each thought as an uncategorized chunk of creative material, an objective, portable piece content.
·      Fragmentary Association. Creating ideas in a piecemeal, nonlinear fashion, without the constraints of chronology, sequence, rational order and narrative.
·      Medium Agnostic. Instead of forcing our own expectations upon the work, you allow patterns to emerge and open our work to becoming more dimensionalized.

These ideas will help put the subconscious to work, let the material work on you, allow you to watch your project start to take shape and acquire real structure and meaning and weight, and help you move from idea to execution:

·      Factory Floor. Creating the ritual of an established parcel of structured curiosity, whereby you casually and thoughtfully peruse every idea you’ve recently accumulated.
·      Distributed Cognition. New ideas that arise from combining many disparate pieces of information or concepts over an extended period of time. 
·      Proactive Unconscious. Viewing your mind as idea processor, waiting at your beck and call, begging you to assign it a problem so it can immediately go to work for you.

C.   Exhaling / Output Tools

These tools will help you achieve a quota of creative usefulness, provide multiple entry points for your audience, allow you to make serious mental headway into your ideas and extract the most value out of conceptual beginnings:

·      Movement Value. The discipline of recognizing conceptual beginnings, witnessing ideas in their nascent state and fully fleshing out your work.
·      Moment of Conception. The single spark of life that signals an idea’s movement value, almost screaming to you, something wants to be built here.
·      Tourniquetting. Creating a healthy sense of distance from your work by damming up the creative flow, compressing the circulation and applying enough pressure so there’s an explosion waiting for you when you’re ready to return.

These ideas will help you generate the internal demand needed to move forward, initiate a sequence of creative rituals, create ambient pressure that motivates you to stay disciplined and establish trusted, consistent structures to trigger your creative focus.

·      Principal Creation. The primary work unit of your creative process that requires focus and craft, i.e., putting words on paper or clicking the shutter.
·      Discipline Transplant. Doable, less threatening strategies to enable your ideal mental, emotional and existential space from which to create.
·      Associative Trigger. Personal patterns and physical objects, from music to visual stimulation to desk style, that echoes the habits of action and allow you to enter into your creative zone. 

These tools will help you amass a collection of output that audiences can access in many different ways, make your work robust enough to find its audience and make a difference and build an undeniable body of work that grows stronger, brick by brick:

·      Prolificacy Equation. An incrementalist, easy does it approach to creating a body of work, which is everything you create and contribute and affect and impact.
·      Gravitational Order. Using motion to create equilibrium so your work finds its place in the universe, thus conspiring towards some unifying geometrical situation. 
·      Victory Dance. A small, customized reward that commemorates the fruits of your motivation and equips you to be what the moment requires.

* * * 

It's not perfect, but then again, being prolific isn't about being perfect.

It's about being everywhere.