Creative Scales

I often tell students that if their practice is boring, it is their fault.

In fact, if just about anything is boring, it’s probably your fault.

Let’s imagine that you decided to jog for one kilometre every day to get fit. Some people do this by running around the same oval each time. The scenery never changes, the challenge never grows. It’s no wonder that they probably give up after only a week or so (if they make it that far).

There are many things you can do to make the jogging more interesting. You can run through different locations. You can run on different surfaces. You can run at different times of the day. You can run against a clock. You can run with a training partner. You can run while you walk your dog.

You can run entirely uphill, or entirely downhill. You can run on soft sand on a beach. You can run through the sprinklers when the local oval is being watered. You can run on a treadmill. You can run backwards, or while listening to music, or while planning your latest novel.

Heck, you can even walk once in awhile. Or hop.

So what can you do with scales apart from just play them up and down and up and down and up and down?

The Opportunities Created by Attending Conventions

Have you ever been to conventions related to your field? Even if the entrance fee of some of these events, particularly the high-profile ones, carry a steep entrance fee, the opportunities created by attending them can do wonders for your freelancing career.

In such a large gathering of like-minded people, you’ll meet interesting people who represent future clients or collaborators. Future clients who are looking for quality talent that can accomplish their projects, or future collaborators who can complement your skill set. You also get to rub shoulders with the best in your profession, and if possible get some advice or ideas from them.

The networking opportunities are immense, and you may find yourself leaving the convention center with a lot of new contacts who can help you advance your career as a contract worker.

Let’s also not forget that many quality conventions actually offer some sort of educational experience. The various speakers what will probably cover the most important topics of your field, or at the very least make you aware of what the industry trends are. Not to mention the common sense of thinking and approach your fellow freelancers take. You can use this info to help yourself stand out from the other attendees, who of course happen to be your competitors. Better yet, any respectable organizer would make a video of the entire event available as part of the package, so you can review everything at your leisure.

By far the biggest opportunity is getting to know the event organizers, and convincing them (hopefully in a subtle manner) of your expertise. Who knows, you might actually find yourself as a speaker for next year’s edition? That will do wonders for your reputation, making you known as an authority in your own field. Just make sure you know how to give great presentations!

5 Ways to Great Ideas

Great ideas are a precious commodity, because if properly executed, they can make anyones work memorable and stand out from the crowd. Since finding them requires exploring new avenues and going beyond old habits, looking for the common factor behind all great ideas is counterproductive. Its infinitely better to focus on the method behind their formulation instead.

Take Your Time

The brain is a messy thing, and it needs time to resolve everything inside into coherent and workable thoughts. While some of the greatest ideas in history come as flashes of inspiration (like Archimedes’ “Eureka!” moment), the reality is that most realizations arent so instant.

Never rush, because this approach naturally makes you go for the easiest route, formulating ideas that are simply straight rehashes of your old ones.

Longterm or largescale projects, such as books, are created from a series of great ideas. Taking your time becomes more crucial in this situation.

Try Something New

Break old habits, experience new things, make yourself uncomfortable. Continue doing the same things, and youll come up with the same ideas.

Get Another Perspective

It can be hard to try something new when youre stuck in your usual way of thinking. And its even harder to break such a pattern of thought. This is the perfect time to consider someone elses perspective, because they may point things out that youve never even thought of.

Review Previous Work

Go over previously accomplished projects may yield some ideas. With some changes, they could potentially suit your current projectsrequirements and actually turn into great ideas.

For instance, a web designer specializing in blog design is asked to create an AdSensefriendly WordPress theme. Instead of coming up with an entirely new approach, he can look through his portfolio and adapt an old project thats been proven to mix ad units effectively with the content.

Adapt Other Great Ideas

Aside from your own work, you can also check out the work of others, especially that of. Ultimately, new great ideas areremixesof previous ones. Take a look at great work, and maybe youll find something you can build on.

Adapting great ideas is also something you should do until youre more confident of your own inventive abilities. David Ogilvy freely admits to copying his idols as he developed his skill and became known as a great copywriter.