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Hot-Wiring Your Creative Process: Strategies for Print and New Media Designers by Curt Cloninger

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5. Varying Degrees of Derivation

UP AMONG THE FIRS WHERE IT SMELLS SO SWEET

OR DOWN IN THE VALLEY WHERE THE RIVER USED TO BE

I GOT MY MIND ON ETERNITY

SOME KIND OF ECSTASY GOT A HOLD ON ME

—SONGWRITER BRUCE COCKBURN

One of my goals as a creative person is to balance my input and output. If I never output any original media, then I’m merely a consumer. But if all I do is work, without taking time to receive inspirational input, then eventually my output begins to go stale and dry up. So I read books, look at artwork, watch movies, go hiking, have conversations with friends and family, and generally live my life.

The truth is this: Unless you live quarantined in a white room, you are perpetually exposed to input—whether from graffiti on a subway ...

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