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Monday, July 6, 2009

Oblique Strategies

Ever run into a creative block (sometimes called "writer's block") and don't know what to do? Sometimes you know a song or a part needs something to go to another level but you just can't come up with a suitable idea. It’s easy enough to leave it for the next day when you're fresh, and chances are that a new idea will indeed spring forth. But in those few times when you and everyone else you're working with runs up against a total creative block, there’s always Oblique Strategies.

Oblique Strategies is a set of published cards created by producer Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt used to get any kind of artist beyond creative block or even to find a new direction. First published in 1975 and now in its fifth edition, each Strategy card contains a phrase or cryptic remark which can be used to break a deadlock or dilemma situation.

Here are a few examples (only one phrase per card):
▪ State the problem in words as clearly as possible.
▪ Only one element of each kind.
▪ What would your closest friend do?
▪ What to increase? What to reduce?
▪ Are there sections? Consider transitions.
▪ Try faking it!
▪ Honour the error as a hidden intention.

Oblique Strategies are easy to use. You pick a random card or select on the website and follow its direction no matter how unusual it might seem. Before you know it, your block will be removed.

Try Oblique Strategies online or go the Oblique Strategies website for more info. There's also a handy Oblique Strategies iPhone app available.

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