I’m a tremendous fan of ambient and chillout music, having gotten hooked on the work of Brian Eno and Harold Budd. Last night, while reading Eno’s biography, I came across a creative system he designed with his then music partner, the late Peter Schmidt in 1975, intended to help themselves break through creative blocks by encouraging lateral thinking. As a writer, I have found this method absolutely invaluable whenever I feel stuck on a scene, a bit of dialogue, or character arc.
Eno and Schmidt came to this design and idea indedendently in the early seventies, and soon realized how much overlap there was between their two systems, and combined them to create Oblique Strategies, a set of cards with creative ways to get through sticking spots in the creative process. I bought yet another set last night, having worn out the first several sets I owned. They’ve become a much sought-after resource to creatives everywhere, and though it’s unlikely one can find an original set for purchase for less than $1,000, there are now a number of apps designed from the original for iPhones and other devices. It’s become an invaluable resource to me. Check it out if you’re seeking a tool to use to get through your own creative dilemmas.