In the past several months, I’ve shared various pieces of The Prolific Framework, a new program that guides people through the art and science of collecting, creating and communicating their ideas.
A key component to that system is learning and employing a robust vocabulary of creativity. It’s a language that permits you to communicate with yourself and others about the creative process, helps you make sense of the otherwise ambiguous world of creativity, empowersyou to speak a language that supports your intentions, and allows you to conceptualize and describe your experience of creating.
Ultimately, I want you to build a lexicon of words and phrases that allow you to converse about creativity. By building a working vocabulary of being prolific, you significantly better your chances of managing the creative process.
So far, I’ve already shared two extensive lists of useful phrases to guide yourself through the creative process, which can be found hereand here.But as I continue to publish my moments of conception case studies, each of which deconstruct an inspiring scene from a popular movie, the glossary continues to expand.
Here are about twenty new words to add to your creative vocabulary.
Flash cards ready?
Aggressive pondering. Deliberately creating a situation or framed experience in order to have an arena in which to work out an unresolved issue.
Artist debt. Periods when we become disconnected from our primary creative joy and fail to achieve our quota of artistic usefulness.
Bridging. The art of making connections and noticing natural relationships between seemingly unrelated ideas.
Containment. The balance between safeguarding your artistic vision to protect intellectual property and passionately sharing your ideas with the world.
Creative uniform. A wearable identity totem that prompts a work mindset and sets a tone that says to your brain, work happens now.
Critical number. Objectifying your work by boiling it down to one thing that’s clean, simple and easy to calculate, something that functions as a proxy to do the heavy lifting for you.
Domain transferring. Bringing ideas from one field of knowledge into another by asking, what else is like this?
Eventfulness. The decisive interaction in which a trusted friend compels an artist to make a key change or take a massive risk in their creative life.
Filter. A small, repeatable and portable filter that helps you make sense of the people you meet quickly and accurately.
Good low. When life hands us a pile of shit, we strategically convert that experience into creative resources of energy, fertility and happiness.
Homebase. A place or community where you can commune with your your fellow artists and lock into the historical, societal and institutional frameworks of your creative world.
Intrinsic triggers.A unique set of inputs that stoke your creative fire. Little moments that let you clothespin a piece of stimuli onto your psyche for further evaluation.
Kindred spirits. Fellow creative people with resonant identities who maintain a shorthand for a shared culture.
Neighbor. Something that already exists the audience’s head that becomes a mental hook upon which you can hang future ideas.
Operational farsightedness. Due to our utter dedication to wider market demands, we fail to note the needs of our intimate ecosystem.
Outofstepness. A sense of feeling unhoused and not fully at home in the world, but a desire to make art to make sense of that world.
Paper thinking. Experiencing your ideas kinesthetically by writing down whatever is rising up from within your depths, saving judgment for later.
Placeholder. A surrogate piece of content that helps budget time and keep production going until a better idea comes along.
Preliminary trigger.A simple, easy and incremental tool that activates the creative process and grows your executional victory bank.
Stalling maneuver.Buying yourself time in group meetings, interviews and presentations, so that you can collect your thoughts and build anticipation around your message.
Timing. When luck takes the form of a confluence of events, including the right person, the right place, the right time, the right product, the right audience, the right context and the right leverage.
Wherewithal. Everything creator need to buttress the opportunity to make art, including knowledge, resources and courage.
Whitespace. Defining yourself by the work you decline, so as to avoid the erosion of your time, the decay of your focus and the meaninglessness of your work.