Most people have over 80 apps installed on their smartphones, although most are rarely used. Mobile apps are so popular that thousands of new apps are published monthly. And with this abundance comes an ever-increasing specialization: Most apps are designed to do one specific thing and hopefully do it well.
In this issue, we play with three apps and use them for something they might not have been designed for: challenging and enhancing our creativity.
Google Keep, Evernote, or Bear
Google Keep, Evernote, and Bear are general-purpose note-taking apps. They differ in functionality, but all three can do much more than just capture textual notes. For our creative exercise, we’ll use their ability to capture segments of web pages.
Whenever you come across some exciting fact, image, or story on the web, capture it in your favorite note-taking app. It doesn’t have to be a piece of information you will later use, but anything that captures your attention.
At the end of the day, open the clips you’ve captured during the day, pick one of them, and create something inspired by it: a story, a drawing, a short poem, or whatever comes to mind. Use the clip as a trigger for associations; take it out of context; imagine.
Pocket or Instapaper
I come across a few potentially interesting articles every day. Like many other people, I can rarely read them in real time, especially if I want to give them the proper attention. And that’s precisely the problem Pocket and Instapaper are designed to solve. Today, we’ll use them for something completely different.
Pick two articles from your reading list and read only their titles. Now, write a short story (no longer than 200 words) that uses both titles. The story doesn’t have to be related to the article’s content (taking things out of context is fun!). But the titles of both articles must appear in the story as is, without any modification.
Google or Apple Photos
Since smartphones came into our lives, we have been carrying a camera with us all the time. As a result, we take dozens, if not hundreds, of photos every month — most of them we will never revisit again. So, let’s use them for some creative exercise.
Pick a random photo you took a while back. Now, look at the image. Find something surprising in it: something you haven’t noticed in real-time. It can be an object you haven’t noticed, some pattern, interaction, or a contrast between two elements in the photo you see now for the first time. Based on the surprising detail you find, give your image a title. Don’t use a one-word title or even a short phrase. Make the title expressive. Use it to tell a story in a single sentence.