habit zero #014

the challenge


The challenge generated for me today differs from the ones we did in the past two weeks. It is a combination of creative exploration and creative writing. The point is not to write a good story — I can’t imagine that I could — but rather to experience working with a different medium.

For the Short Story Prism we need three Seeds. The first step in this game is to capture one visual Insight inspired by each Seed. The second step is to write a short story based on the three visuals.

Let’s see what will surprise us today…

my insight


The first Insight I captured was inspired by the ReShape Seed. Unlike the text-based Seeds, a ReShape Seed works on a different kind of associations. When I looked around me I found this bell and when I turned it upside down, it looked exactly like the shape on the Seed.

A man walking on the street while playing with Rubik’s Cube

The second Insight was inspired by the Cubism Seed. I saw a man walking on the street. He was holding a Rubik’s Cube and seemed to be playing with it while walking.

Since I prefer not to photograph people on the street, I settled for plain textual description of what I saw. I still consider this a visual Insight since I captured it with no editing or refinement.

When I looked for a Life on Mars Insight, my eyes caught this rock. I’m pretty sure this photo looks nothing like the Mars landscape, but in my mind the rock seemed to be alien — as if it had fallen from a different planet.

And with that in mind (along with the previous two Insights) the following plot began to take form…

She was sitting in her office, not even pretending to work. She kept her hands busy with that annoying Rubik’s Cube she has never managed to solve, amusing herself with the thought this was some kind of practical joke aliens were playing on earthlings.

The sudden alarm caused her to jump out of her chair. It was a sound she heard only in simulations before. But this wasn’t a simulation — the Visual Analysis Program had identified something.

She ran to the control room. On the huge screen she saw a perfect white cube standing on an endless area of small black stones. The green text on the bottom left corner of the screen flashed — MARS-CAM002 / LIVE FEED



While waiting for my first Pulitzer on that ultra-short story, this is a great chance to reflect on the process I went through this morning. In a sense, it was a small-scale demonstration of how stories are created (minus the stuff that actually makes them a work of art worth reading of course).

Many stories are created (or at least conceived) from such random, unrelated fragments. In fact, many artworks are embedded with such pieces of reality, jigsaw puzzle pieces taken from different “pictures”, which together from a new reality — the one living inside the artwork.

That is the reason we are focused on creative exploration throughout this journey. Finding, noticing, and capturing these random reality bits enables the creative process. We collect the ingredients of the creative dish. And as you will soon realize, this capability is essential also to creative problem solving, and not just in an artistic context.

mental notes


  • When you see something interesting — capture it either visually or in writing. You never know how you might use it in the future either consciously or unconsciously.
  • Nothing is created on a blank canvas. We build new things on top (or using) existing ones.

now it is your turn… be creative!



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