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, empowers
you 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 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
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
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
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
A simple, easy and incremental tool that activates the creative process and
grows your executional victory bank.
Buying yourself time in group meetings, interviews and presentations, so that
you can collect your thoughts and build anticipation around your message.
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.