While watching a video segment on Tim Schafer of Double Fine Productions, I was intrigued by his analogy of the creative process. In his process for writing the stories of classic adventure games such as; Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, Brutal Legend (with Jack Black), and Psychonauts, he compares his writing process to a “Pipeline.” 5 subject notebooks full of scrawls sit in stacks in his office as proof of his dedication to the method.
After utilizing the methods he described myself, I am convinced of it’s usefulness. THE CREATIVE PIPELINE METHOD is this: Systematically writing down trains of thought with the end goal of generating more free and uninterrupted creative ideas.
In viewing your thoughts like a pipeline, you can visualize the “gunk” that must exit first until you get a steadier flow of creative goodness. For procedures sake, I’ve broken down the method into 3 progressive phases.
Journal about your most immediate memories of the day. Often the hardest part of making a creative work is getting started, so in the pipeline, you physically start by processing the events of the day. This relieves the pressure of whatever importance you held to starting the creative work for the day. At this stage, just write was comes intuitively and naturally. Really catalogue the highs and lows of the day, memorable moments, and all that led you to where you are sitting and writing.
Follow every important thought. Don’t be afraid to go off on a little tangent if it’s at the forefront of you mind. After writing about the day, you’ll find yourself fixated on subjects and various issues that didn’t take place today, but are impactful to you. Write those out. Clear the runway for all the good creative efforts that are about to come down the pipeline.
Finally, fix your intentions firmly on the most genuine creative desires you have. To this point, you have been all allowing all the creative blocks in the pipeline to flow onto the page, and now it’s time for the good stuff. If you did not rush to this point, you have done the method well. Scheme up your creative opportunities. If it’s a problem you wish to solve, what do you have at your disposal to accomplish a solution? If it’s a store you want to build, detail the inns and outs with a small schematic. Through this phase is, “the creative part,” of the writing exercise don’t get too held up on this phase needing to be revolutionary. Follow your trains of thought just like you did beforehand.
What’s incredible about this method is the rush you feel when good creative ideas start emerging. You will often get a second wind during Phase #3 if you where writing particularly long leading up to it. Once the pipeline is clear, you’re able to be more articulate and care-free in making something creative. Give it a shot, and share your experience.