September 2018 Chatter

Posted at 31/08/18 - 06:05 PM

If you aspire to being a bit creative with the magic that you do and you want to make your performances different from your competitors, it requires that you come up with ways to devise plots, or presentations, and maybe even methods, that will break away from the norm.

There are lots of ways to start the creative process (my E-Book A Simple Guide To Creativity offers you lots of suggestions), but the underlying requirement is that you need to have a good imagination. Without at least some ability to daydream, you are likely to remain stuck with what has gone before, because inspiration may not just happen automatically when you need it to.

One of my favourite ways to start thinking about something new is to fantasise about a trick plot. I try not to consider any elements of method at this stage, but simply allow my imagination to run riot.

You see, if you restrict your thinking only to plots for which you already have some form of method, you are limiting your potential immediately. The methodology is taking precedence over the plot, and thus cutting out vast numbers of possible tricks you could work on simply because your brain at this moment is restricting you to known elements.

If you can allow your mind to wander wherever it wants, you are more likely to think of interesting, even whacky, ideas, and although probably most of them will in the long run turn out to be a non-starter, in amongst the impractical stuff a few gems may well be lurking.

So how do you get a good imagination? Is it just something you have to be born with, or is it an attribute that you can nurture and develop? I would suggest that it is definitely something which you can promote, and there are a few ways that you can go about it.

The first thing is to be interested in things outside of magic. Literature, music, art, dance, the theatre, these are all populated by endless numbers of creative people. Cross fertilisation of ideas from one art form to another is very common, and if you can immerse yourself in other creative mediums, it may well encourage your brain to think more outside the box when it comes to magic itself.

Within magic, you can get ideas by absorbing areas of our craft  that are not directly within your normal range of interest. If you are at a convention, try attending lectures on subjects that seem on the face of it to be totally irrelevant to you. If you are a mentalist, for example, you could try going to a children’s lecture.

Sure, there will be plenty of times when inspiration will not be forthcoming, but the more you do it, and the more you try to think more widely about what you are watching and hearing, the more likely it will be that you will gain something positive to take away with you.

I find that sometimes it can be something very small and seemingly almost irrelevant that will spark an idea in my head. A passing comment, an undeveloped method or move, will suddenly cause my brain to spring into action. Without stimulus, those creative thoughts would almost certainly never happen, and so if you want to be more creative, you need to give your imagination opportunities to be fired.

Author: Mark Leveridge

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