My mind as an environment for creativity

September 28, 2019

In May 2018, I had been making music for over 300 consecutive days and I started to notice a shift in my thinking. It was like everything I was percieving had a BPM. I would notice the rhythm of a traffic light or see mental images of Logic Pro X interfaces as a song was playing in a restaurant. It’s as if I had trained my brain to enter a making music state every time it heard sounds.

Today is my 270th consecutive day of writing code and I am noticing a similar shift. At times I find it difficult to decipher the differences between writing in English and writing in a programming language. When you are writing code, you are continually processing the most logical way to structure and combine ideas. It is a state of making logic. Now just like with music, I find myself in this state at unexpected times.

Yesterday I was standing at the front door of my home staring outside at several squirrels as they cracked and buried walnuts from a nearby walnut tree. It’s as if they were programmed to perform their operations. They would dart in a zig zag pattern to find the optimal place to bury the walnut they just cracked. If one squirrel got too close, the other squirrel would chase it out of its territory and then resume the process of cracking and burying walnuts again. I wondered how their behaviour could be represented in Python.

In both cases through daily creation I had unexpectedly trained my mind to look for specific patterns and to make specific connections. So now I’m wondering: how do I create the mind that can see the patterns I hope to see?

To begin exploring this question, I have started creating some kind of interface in addition to writing code daily. Perhaps the kind of mind that yields original thinking about software is one that is trained to recognize patterns in all facets that comprise a complete software output. Applied to filmmaking; perhaps the kind of mind that yields original thinking is one that is trained to recognize patterns in cinematography, editing, music composition, acting, and so on. In other words, perhaps the kind of mind that yields original thinking about filmmaking is one that is producing and editing videos, making music and acting every day. Applied to game development; perhaps the kind of mind needed is one that writes code, illustrates, animates and makes music every day.

I find myself thinking in this way often now. Before starting a new project I wonder, what kind of mind do I need?