In-tro-spec-tion – By @HFoenander
By Henry Foenander
To examine one’s own thoughts. To Ponder ‘pon one’s own processes. To observe owned opinions. To have a proper hard fink about wtf is going on in your noggin.
This little concept was recently brought up by SCA’s own Jacob De Figueiredo, and it got me thinking about the role of introspection in the creative process, and I De Figured I better write a SCAB about it, because it turns out it’s rather important.
The first element of introspection that sprung to mind is understanding your own creative process. From what I’ve been able to tell, the first half of SCA is based around learning techniques. These techniques are all equally relevant and worthy. However, there’s so many, that by the end of term one, I couldn’t help but feel a little daunted by the prospect of trying to use them all at the same time. Honestly, if I’d tried to use them all, the work would have been a strange creative puddle of oddness smooshed together in an incomprehensible print ad.
Come term two, I began to realise that these techniques require a personal filter. There are ones you begin with, ones you use when you get mind block, ones you never use, and most commonly, ones you give your own personal twist.
The benefit of this is that all your work becomes intrinsically connected to you as a creative. Your individual way of connecting random words leads to work that corresponds with you as an individual.
Once you’ve nailed this, once you understand your own processes (Which I wouldn’t dare claim I have) the workload flows much more naturally. The easiest place to see this is Mentors. Often Mentors helping with ideas come up with typically ‘them’ strategies and thoughts, because the process they use is cemented and fully understood by themselves. So for that reason alone introspection becomes a worthwhile hobby, use it to find out what your flow is, then master it.
So introspection is great right? Not always I’m afraid. The second element of ‘thinking about thinking about stuff’ is far more hazardous. Self-critiquing.
How do you know when your work’s right? Sure you can ask others, but at the end of the day it’s you that has to make a decision, which means delving into that creepy dungeon that is your brain.
Beware, here there be dragons. Dragons that whisper in your ear that bad work is good, or even worse, that ‘it’ll do’. Trying to avoid these dragons and get to the treasure chest of truth they guard can be difficult. It’s something that I certainly need to work on. Anyone whose worked with me knows that I have a habit of suddenly exclaiming “that’s the best idea ever!” and then proceeding to use it to create something that makes utterly no sense.
However, as usual, SCA offers a solution. The six hatting process, the sticky test and the SUCCESS score system force you to be objective. These let you introspect and self-critique like a pro. Every element, the good, the bad and the ugly are exposed and can be meticulously examined. Any future SCA students would do well to learn from my mistakes and try and master these methods as soon as possible, it will save you a ton of time, and a ton of shame. They swat aside the dragons like the pesky flies they are, and let you get to that fabled treasure, and most of the time discover that you should probably kill the idea. But killing an idea will always lead to a better one.
So self-critiquing and understanding your personal process are vital to this job. And mastering the art of introspection is a truly useful skill. At least I think it is. Or I think that I think it is. Or something.