Collect Dots and Connect the Dots: Bill Stainton on Creativity

Today, I watched a powerful TEDx talk by Bill Stainton on creativity: he advises to ‘collect dots and connect the dots’.

Since the pandemic started, I am undergoing not only a serious existential crisis, but also a serious creative block. I can’t seem to count how many creative projects I have started that I never had the consistency to continue. New ideas keep popping to my head, but instead of being inspired and motivated, it made me paralyzed, anxious, and do nothing.

Dealing With Creative Block

Connect the Dots: Bill Stainton on Creativity

I remember a photographer friend telling me that he has been very ‘hypercritical’ of his own works, and hence he tends to overthink every single photo he takes. Moreover, he is also very uncomfortable with the thought of not having original ideas. I told him he needs to read Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon and the Introduction of the book Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton.

I am also starting to get convinced that social media is killing my creativity. I had an attempt to show my work on Instagram and see where it takes me, but I became a slave to it and found myself posting for other people instead of posting for myself. I’m trying my best to minimize my social media use and explore and hone my creativity in other ways. That’s why I started reading more.

Books About Creativity and Photography

I asked a question on reddit on books about creativity and/or photography to get started. Here are the answers I got:

*adds everything to my 2022 reading list*

Connecting the Dots My Own Way

Ever since this Youtuber Kayle Urbano has mentioned the book Originals by Adam Grant in one of his videos, I became an instant fan and have always considered myself a non-conformist. I always have my own unique ways of dealing with life, solving problems, and approaching situations that are not usually the most popular ways. It reminded me of this Calvin and Hobbes comic that is my most favorite:

Connect the Dots: Bill Stainton on Creativity

Connect the Dots

I want to declare this month as my creativity month, and I want to get as much creative ideas as I can to improve my creativity and get started with taking my projects to the next level. I came across this TEDx video by Bill Stainton on how to be a more creative person.

After watching the video, I have started to reflect and contemplate as to how to begin ‘collecting dots and connecting the dots’. Shall I apply it to photography? How? Shall I start another medium of art? I mean, I have tried filmmaking, painting, poetry, graphic design, name it. How?

Here comes my cluttered mind again.

I made this notebook cover from all my travel and photography junks and I think it’s amazing. It seems like I connected the dots here.

And look, I made another one.

Previously, my inspirations from classics included Albert Camus and Rainer Maria Rilke, but I am ready to solicit more ideas from more contemporary sources. I just need to get it organized, slow it down, keep my eyes on the goal, and enjoy the process (take that, Gary Vee!).

I’m ready to create more this month. Let’s go!

P. S. I got the inspiration to create this blog series on creativity from none other than Austin Kleon.

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