Side Projects as Creative Problem Solving

There are times when I get sidetracked to a totally new or long forgotten interest. I become quite consumed with it. At least for awhile I act like I just might make a plunge into this totally new field. It may be why neither myself or anyone else around me could make any sense of what I’m supposed to do. I finally realized though, it just may be my way of solving or enduring through an obstacle. Following are some phases that I went through and what I think they were attempting to solve.

1. Gardening and the Initial Creative Process

Gardening teaches patience for due time for new life forming. You may doubt the potential of a seed invisible under ground, but most of the time, with patience and tending, it eventually grows, blooms, and becomes whatever it was meant to be. At the difficult point in the beginning of a creative process where you can’t see where you’re headed, gardening was at once a distraction and a concrete reminder of the process of making something new.

2. Cooking and Writing

Writing I feel is quite close to cooking. Perhaps that’s why quite a few writers cook or bake. The material for writing: love, hurt, disappointment, the cycle of life, the pursuit of dreams, is shared by most people. Just like the many common food ingredients: meats, fish, vegetables, grains, herbs and spices. What each person makes of it though, is what makes all the difference. Depending on the ingredient, you could enjoy it raw, or you may go through more and more elaborate cooking processes. Elaborate cooking may impress people, but if the ingredient is of exceptionally high quality, simpler cooking may be the better choice.

3. Painting and Recording

Music recording, especially with today’s technology is similar to painting. Each different sound is like a different color that you use to create the soundscape. When I was stuck and not making progress because I got overwhelmed by all the technicalities, painting gave me a hands on way of thinking about this. And gave me some possible ideas to overcome the obstacles in getting started and making progress.

4. Jigsaw Puzzles and Multiple Projects

When you have varied interests and many projects that you dabble in it can be easy to get discouraged and wonder if something is wrong with you. Jigsaw puzzles are a great reminder that while each piece on its own does not seem to make a lot of sense, all those pieces will eventually come together into a complex whole.

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