the critical question

photo by Leo Reynolds

There’s a question that my friend & collaborator, Lisa Johnson, has taught me to ask — over and over again:

What am I noticing?

You can apply it to your career, a frustrating project, a personal issue, or any other situation that requires assessment. Somehow, this one question unlocks all the ideas and scraps of inspiration that lurk in your mind, eluding conscious thought. It’s a personal barometer — or thermometer. Either way, it pulls up the mental roots and forces you to tell the truth.

It can also provide a creative kick-start. Grab a pen and paper (and a double decaf iced Americano, if you’re Lisa), write this question at the top and get down everything that spills into your head. We’re all familiar with the brainstorming process, but you might be surprised by what this single question reveals.

Then ask it with a twist: What am I noticing about X? Or pose it to someone else: What are you noticing about X?

Ask it often enough and you’ll have a potent guide for your creative life.

posted 27 Apr 10 in: art, inspiration. This post currently has no responses.

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