While working on the observation journal, I’d been wanting to play a bit more with the adapting note-taking styles to looking at other things — in this case, a given day. This was partly to look at the particular day, as much as it was to find out\ how the approach works (swapping out context and content are very useful for this in most things).
I used the Patterns/Surprises/Likes/Dislikes/Steal-try-transform structure (Todd Henry’s Book The Accidental Creative, with a dash of Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist — see more in the post Bookmarks and Remarks).
I do want to try it again, on a different sort of day — it was a hot, strange, sad Wednesday: a funeral (I’ve hidden a few family specifics for now), conversations on public transport, and other things.
But it was very interesting to treat a day as a distinct object or narrative (intentionally created or otherwise) with its rises and falls, its accumulating impressions, its accidental resonances, the sense of winding down, of jettisoning plans just to get to bed, or of running out the door without even a pocket-handkerchief.
I was also starting to think more, here, of the distance between Ideas and Finished Things, and where it’s shortest, and how to get over that ground lightly. Converting “creativity” to action (in class as in life), and dealing with the aftershocks of finishing projects (such as the emotions of stumbling upon them unexpectedly in unlikely locations).
Observation approach (for writing, or art, or just looking at familiar things from an unfamiliar angle — or for working out how an observation structure works):
- Use a note-taking/analysis technique you’ve come across (a classic plot structure? traditional composition principles? garment construction?). Or try the approach above which is, basically, try to find at least three each of of the following:
- Patterns (in the thing itself, and between it and other things you’ve seen/read/noticed lately — I always try to force a few unlikely connections);
- Dislikes; and
- Steal (interesting things to adapt to your own work — if it isn’t obvious, choose a project you’re working on and find something you could adapt).
(Note: mostly from Todd Henry’s Book The Accidental Creative and Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist)
- Apply it to something it wasn’t designed for: A day, a house, a stranger.
- How does it change the details you notice about the thing observed? Can you rewrite/redraw the thing to highlight that unexpected structure? Or can you borrow those unexpected angles or details for another project you’re working on?