Ideas come from everything .”  Alfred Hitchcock
The term “jack­daw­ing” is derived from the jack­daw, a com­mon black and gray bird related to the car­rion crow. Jack­daws are noto­ri­ous for pick­ing up objects, espe­cially shiny ones, to hoard in their nests.
To reach your cre­ative poten­tial, you must develop the instincts of a jack­daw. You must be curi­ous about every­thing that con­fronts you and on con­stant look­out for new stim­uli. Like the jack­daw, you must col­lect and hoard images and ideas that catch your atten­tion, regard­less of their appar­ent value.
One way to do this is to pho­to­graph any­thing that catches your eye. Smart phones make this a snap (pun intended).
You can also squir­rel away (per­haps “jack­daw­ing” should be called “squir­rel­ing”) bits of infor­ma­tion as you find them, build­ing a com­pi­la­tion of seem­ingly use­less and unre­lated facts, news­pa­per cut­tings, URL book­marks, quotes, brochures, etc.
Keep­ing a small note­book handy is a great way to jot down snatches of con­ver­sa­tion, excerpts from books and mag­a­zines or fresh ideas.
Once you’ve begun col­lect­ing this trea­sure trove of inspi­ra­tion, the next step is to cat­a­log it and make it search­able and eas­ily acces­si­ble. I used to have fold­ers and fold­ers and boxes and boxes of this stuff, but in my effort to de-clutter and become more paper­less, my com­puter is now my fil­ing cab­i­net. How­ever, some­times you need real objects in hand to start the cre­ative juices flowing.
Michael Michalko in Cre­ative Thinker­ing sug­gests one way to prime your­self for cre­ativ­ity is to cre­ate an “inten­tion board.” An inten­tion board is a large poster board on which you tape pho­tos, say­ings, arti­cles, printed pieces and other items you’ve col­lected. The idea is to sur­round your­self with images of your inten­tion (what you want to cre­ate) and, in the process, encour­age inspi­ra­tion and innovation.
A hi-tech approach is to use Pin­ter­est. Although designed as a photo-sharing web­site that allows users to cre­ate and man­age theme-based image col­lec­tions such as events, inter­ests and hob­bies, it is an excel­lent jack­daw­ing tool. And it can be car­ried a step far­ther by allow­ing you to share your online hoard with oth­ers … and vice versa. Per­son­ally, I use Evernote and libraries created on Adobe Creative Cloud.
Regard­less of your approach to jack­daw­ing, hav­ing a broad foun­da­tion of bor­rowed stim­uli can be the per­fect launch­ing pad for a cre­ative solution.
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