Listen to the ear in the field

I’m on vacation this week in Florida. As I sit by the pool, I’m reading David Lynch’s book Catching The Big Fish.

If you’ve enjoyed his movies like I have, it is an intriguing read. It is also highly insightful.

One of his secrets to creativity is to find the little idea and then develop it, instead of waiting for the whole idea to come to you.

Here’s what he says: “An idea is a thought. It’s a thought that holds more than you think it does when you receive it. But in that first moment there is a spark….It would be great if the entire film came all at once. But it comes, for me, in fragments. That first fragment is like the Rosetta Stone. It’s the piece of the puzzle that indicates the rest. It’s a hopeful puzzle piece. In Blue Velvet, it was red lips, green lawns, and the song–Bobby Vinton’s version of “Blue Velvet.” The next thing was an ear lying in a field. And that was it. You fall in love with the first idea, that little tiny piece. And once you’ve got it, the rest will come true.

That is deep. For your next project, product or big idea — just pay attention to the little gifts that come to you. Capture the smallest of brilliant flashes of insight and get to creative work. You might come up with Twin Peaks, The IPOD or a great redesign of a broken process at work.