Posted by: Liz Massey | November 26, 2008

Surf’s Up: Creativity Links for November 26, 2008


Photo courtesy of SXC.

A world’s worth of photography, a neat how-to on building an “inspiration” file and the value of visualization tools in cracking tough problem-solving challenges are all on tap for our pre-Thanksgiving Day link round-up, as well as bonus links celebrating the revival of “mix tape” culture, a video on music’s relationship to cooking and a short list of the 2009 candidates for the Academy Award in documentary film.

1. If you want to learn about other parts of the planet via photographs without leaving home, or even leaving your computer, TrekEarth is the place to go. The website states that its mission is “to (foster) a global community interested in photography from around the world.” Photographers can display their work grouped by continent, country, region, state and city, participate in discussions and write/receive critiques for member photos; visitors can test their global knowledge by taking a “Where Am I?” photographic quiz. (This might be a great game to play with children to enhance their geographic knowledge, too.)
The creators of TrekEarth have also created TrekLens, which allows photographers to post photos with a wider array of themes and greater post-processing, and TrekNature, which has a wildlife photography theme.

2. Marelisa Fabrega has written a great post at Write to Done on how to create a swipe file. Far from being a tool to copy the ideas of others, swipe files can function as an inspiration pool to draw from any time you need to jump-start your ideation.

In the post, she mentions analog and digital means of collecting swipe file materials, including the online use of Tumblr. She expands the definition of what to swipe beyond artifacts in your own profession (ads, articles, photos, drawings) to include just about anything that catches your eye.

As Marelisa explains,
“Your swipe file is personal and should contain anything that moves or inspires you. Whenever you need ideas for your writing simply sit back in a comfortable chair, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, and peruse through your swipe file, fully expecting to be inspired. Look through your swipe file at night right before going to bed so that the words and images can marinate in your mind as you sleep. In the morning when you awaken and apply yourself to your task the ideas will explode like multicolored fireworks in the inner recesses of your mind.”

It’s also worth noting that the practice of keeping a swipe file can be a daily creative habit that keeps one’s imagination supple, which can help prevent creative burn-out.

3. Got a problem to solve or something that needs creating and writing about it just isn’t cutting it? Maybe it’s time to consider the visual side of the issue. The Geekpreneur blog recently did a nice review of visualization tools and how they can be used to solve a variety of problems.

Although the blog is admittedly aimed at a techie-programmer crowd, the post covers a broad array of tools and techniques, including mindmapping, storyboarding (although it doesn’t mention it by name), flowcharting, diagramming and sketching. It also mentions fun open-source alternatives to brand-name software, which makes some of these ideas less expensive to try out.

Bonus links
How Music Relates to Cooking
A video discussing the concept of fluency that is important to both disciplines. Tip o’ the blog to The Summerglen Files for posting this first.

The mix tape ethos lives in the digital world with Mixwit. Users can share music, photos, video, etc., all mixed to their personal satisfaction.

Oscar Doc Short List
The All These Wonderful Things blog takes an in-depth look at the 15 films short-listed for the documentary category for the Academy Awards.


  1. Hi Liz: I’m glad you enjoyed the article on creating a swipe file. Thank you for the link 🙂 I had never heard of TrekEarth but I love looking at photographs from around the globe so I’ll be sure to stop by.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: