Remember “The Giving Tree”?
You know, that “delightful” children’s story about the tree that gets ravaged by a selfish man-boy? Well, I’m working on an adaptation of it. Yeah, you’re right, it is pretty cool.
It’s called The Idea Giving Tree. And in this version, the egomaniacal BOY character has been replaced by a talented creative person who happens to be nice. The tree meanwhile…well, is still a tree. But get this: IT REPRESENTS THE CREATIVE PERSON’S BRAIN. Boom! Plot twist!
But rather than watching the boy ruthlessly reduce the tree to a rotting stump like in Smell Silverstink’s book (solid burn), in this version, the person and the tree help each other grow and get stronger.
How, you ask? Great question; I like you.
For starters, by reading. Together, they read fiction, non-fiction, essays, advertising blogs from great agencies that rank 3rd on Agency Spotter’s Top 100 Advertising Agencies list, etc. They absorb as much generally-considered-great writing as they can and then discuss WHY it’s great so they can develop an appreciation for it. And the tree is happy.
Then the two take in the visual arts. You know, like film, TV, and fake horror movie trailers. They pay attention to every element that goes into it—the writing, the story, the sound, and more—and then maybe the person says something like, “Wow, that was an interesting use of natural light or whatever.” (I’m still working that part out. Back off.) And the tree is happy.
Then they listen to great podcasts, albums, lectures, you name it. Even those that fall outside of the person’s interests. After they listen, they think and talk, and you guessed it: the tree is happy.
So why all this reading, watching, and listening? Well that brings us to the moral of the whole dang story. See: ideas are (via the estimable Jack Foster’s How to Get Ideas) “new combinations of existing elements.” And by seeking out and appreciating great amounts of diverse inputs, the creative person is able to increase the output of their tree-brain.™
New elements are acquired, so more ideas can be generated.
There it is. A soon-to-be classic tale that’s destined to earn me a Newbery Medal and will hopefully help you generate some new ideas before I’m eventually imprisoned for blatant plagiarism.
Have an idea-filled weekend, everybody.
-Your brain nurturing friends at Brokaw