Reverse-Engineer an Epiphany

Take a good, long look at a bizarre creative work–a piece of artwork, a web-comic, a movie, a television show, a book, a story–it doesn’t matter what it is as long as you found yourself saying, “how on earth did they come up with that idea?!”

Now, reverse-engineer the odd circumstances or set of events that might have led to such an inspiration. Don’t limit yourself to being practical or to trying to imagine as precisely as possible how you really think it would have happened. Instead, get wild! Get strange. Let your imagination take over. If you’re having trouble getting started, imagine the author or artist sitting in their favorite writing haunt, on the subway on their way to work, or out with friends when…

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Free-associate backwards from the elements present in this particularly bizarre or odd creative work. This may seem like an unusual exercise, but it does help to teach your mind to make strange connections between unlikely events, and to see the inspiration in coincidences.


Messy Genius Tile Box

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