Tested and Approved: How 100:10:1 Can Help Overcome the Creative Block

Have you ever fallen victim to the creative block?  Creative blocks occur every once in a while and they can be very frustrating to manage.  However, it’s best to remember that creative blocks are there to challenge us to think and act outside our normal routines.

Nick Bentley, a video game designer, came up with a system helps him overcome creative block.  His method, a unique take on personal brainstorming, is called 100:10:1.  Nick understands that all good ideas start from bad ones, which were generated by creative individuals allowing themselves to think quickly and without judgment.  In a day, Nick wrote down 100 vague ideas and eventually narrowed down his thoughts to focus on one idea that triggered his creativity passion.  For more about Nick's story, click HERE to read the inspiring article.

Compelled by curiosity, and the fact that my creativity was currently feeling stifled, I decided to test Nick's method.  The outcome was so empowering that I wanted to share my experience and hopefully inspire other artists to try the method for themselves

Nick focused his process to generate 100 ideas for video games to create.  Instead I allowed my process to act as a stream of consciousness session where the ideas would trigger projects from many directions.  I asked myself: what do I want to achieve in life, career and for artists? 

After roughly 45 minutes, the 'rough' part was overcoming a few pauses in between where I felt my mind had stopped thinking, I accomplished writing 100 ideas.  During the exercise, I noticed that by idea 75 my fingers and brain went into autopilot.  The ideas seemed to pour out of me by surprise!

Next, after taking a small break, I revisited each idea to write one or two sentences behind them - most of the sentences became questions of 'why', 'how' and 'what' the ideas meant.  Some ideas I didn’t know why I wrote them down – though they were strange ideas (i.e. I have no idea as to why I wrote down the word ‘milk’) I was careful not to dismiss them but simply agreed to come back them at a later time. 

From these 100 ideas, I narrowed down a top 10 list based on three key criteria: 1.) which ideas interested me the most; 2.) what would require the least amount of my time to deliver; and 3.) those I felt my audience would benefit from the most.  From these top 10, I fleshed out more details.  And soon, it became apparent which one (1) idea triggered my creativity the most – I couldn’t stop writing down a vision for this idea.  By lunchtime, I felt inspired, motivated and focused to get going on this one creative project.

Everyone will have a different experience to testing this personal brainstorming session.  However, I encourage artists to try the 100:10:1 to overcome their creative blocks.  More importantly, I believe this method can be used to stimulate an artist's most challenging tasks, like figuring out marketing strategies for future events.  One way to use the 100:10:1 method in building marketing strategies is to start creating 100 ideas for social media hashtags and posts.  Similarly, an artist can discover the right words to use in communicating to a target audience by writing down 100 words that relate to an audience demographic.   

We can never have too many helpful tools at our fingertips that help us overcome the creative block.  Try the 100:10:1 method today and discover if it's right for you.  Get creative!  Have fun.  And gain focus for your arts practice.