There is only so much thinking, planning, dreaming, hoping, wondering and praying that a creative person can do before just trying an idea by: typing, writing, drawing, painting, dancing, singing or whatever else moves you. There is the creative aspect of what we do and then there's also a side of us that really wants to share what we have created. Some folks may find it hard to just do the creative part, while others have creativity coming out of every pore in their body, but struggle in how to share what they have done with the rest of the world. What if creating can be fun and easy?
One technique that I have learned through my day-job life as an engineer in the aerospace industry came from a very unexpected source. Early on in my career I was fortunate enough to have been part of lean manufacturing workshops that were guided by ex-Toyota Lean manufacturing gurus from Japan. They taught us how to apply lean principles to our designs and manufacturing processes. What I didn't realize at the time was how much of an impact the idea of Trystorming would have on my personal life.
The ideas were relatively simple and I found that I could apply them to my creative life as I began to explore who I was and how I wanted to be "seen" in the world. The basic principles of Trystorming are:
- Pick a topic, question or issue
- Draw seven ways to bring that topic, question or issue into the world; use nature or your child-like self as a source of inspiration
- Pick the top 3 ideas
- Trystorm those ideas and decide which one is best or which combination is best; spend little to no money during this phase
- Down select to your main concept and then put a plan together to execute on it.
- go out and do it and then repeat the process as much as possible as you get more and more into the details or run up against blocks.
How does Trystorming work for creative folks?
So how does this apply to the creative world? The way I see it, it can be really useful in the (2) main stages we talked about above:
- Helping people to get unstuck if they're are having "Artist's Block"
- Helping people to creatively think about ways to get their work out into the world
I have used Trystorming to help me get started on a number of creative projects or helping me to decide which first steps to take. For example, I was really stuck on creating a 3rd character for one of my novels. I knew I wanted this character to be a good friend of the protagonist but I didn't have a clue about who this character was, what he looked like, his personality, etc... I decided to sketch (7) different characters (granted I am not a great drawer). But I was able to start getting different essences. I eventually narrowed the ideas down to my top three. I gave myself a writing assignment to write a brief story of the character in each of the (3) sketches I came up with. In the end, the main character was a mix of all three. The best part was, the character went from being a "nothing" to a character full of life, funny, and detailed.
Here are some other ways I used Trystorming to flesh out creative projects:
- When trying to determine my painting style, I went out and bought (1) acrylic paint and (1) oil paint. I learned right away that I preferred acrylic paints because of their look, smell and ease of clean up. My old self would have listened to other people who were pushing me to do oils. I probably would have bought a whole oil kit and not enjoyed it very much.
- When trying to come up with a song idea for a new album, I was stuck on the lyrics for a song I had half written. I originally thought I should write about a specific person and then did some Trystorming. In the end I ended up writing about (3) different characters and the lyrics flowed out once I had some visual and emotional details about the song characters.
- Another example was when I struggled to figure out which perspective to write my latest novel Masters of Love in. I thought for sure it should be omiscient and 3rd person. I decided to "trystorm" writing a paragraph in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and a mix. I soon learned that 1st person felt more powerful and added a dimension to the story I didn't expect.
And what about marketing your creative work?
Here are some recommendations for using Trystorming techniques to help unlock your "marketing creative side" so other people can see and experience your work. This is especially helpful if you have no interest in the marketing/business aspect but still want your work out in the world.
- Sketch out (7) ways you could get the word out about your work. Use nature as a guide. Don't worry about the "how" part just yet. Just get ideas out without filtering. An example would be: a stork delivering your latest poem to the arms of loving fans
- Pick the top 3 sketches or ideas that you came up with
- Start brainstorming how you could translate those initial ideas into ways to get your work out. An example of the stork idea - make copies of your poem and deliver them (in person) to professors, editors, reader of poems by visiting places they hang out at.
- See what works by trying it and spending very little money.
- Repeat the process until you figure out what works for you and gets you the responses you are looking for.
- If you get really stuck, I would suggest asking for help from your spirit team (Team Spirit). No, not Teen Spirit... but hopefully realize you whole unseen team rooting for you. As you lie in bed, ready for sleep try thinking about what it is that you want to accomplish in this world creativity. Call on the following (whatever you feel connected and comfortable with): God, Holy Spirit, Angels, Ascended Masters, Your Higher Self, the universe, etc... Ask them what is the best way to get your work out in the world. Concentrate on it for a minute and then allow yourself to go to sleep. Think about the question again in the morning. Nine times out of ten, some inspired idea will float into your mind and inspire you!
Because the whole marketing or promotion part can be difficult for artists, it can also be the most challenging to understand how to apply Trystorming to this side of your work. The magic that I have seen Trystorming do for me, is to take something that I dread or have been avoiding and then change its energy. For example, I was trying to figure out how to promote a life coaching business many years ago but dreaded thinking about how to market it. I did the Trystorming exercise and eventually I took on the energy of an otter - playful, fierce, cute, and graceful. Even though I ended doing what most people did for marketing, at least I felt a lot better about it. I hung a picture of cute and playful otter above my computer to remind myself that marketing could be fun.
So this is how you trystorm your creative vision and work:
- Think about a topic, what is it that has you stuck or what type of project do you want to create, or what's your stories theme/plot, etc...
- Begin to sketch ideas - use your child-like self or nature for inspiration, but really try sketching vs. copy and pasting photos (you can do that later). Come up with at least seven different ideas.
- Downselect to your top three ideas.
- Begin trystorming (trying out) your top three ideas. This could be writing out a page of work, a more detailed sketch, starting to paint, writing a song draft, etc... Tune into your energy centers for creative insight and guidance.
- Which one of the three resonates with you the most? Are there aspects of all three that can be blended into one? Combine these ideas.
- Complete your work at least through a first draft. Repeat the process until you get what you want or repeat the process to address marketing, other scenes, connecting with others. etc...
I would invite you to try this technique and send back some feedback on whether it worked or did not work for you. Also, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
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In creative spirit,