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.