Book Review: Change Your Mind – 57 Ways To Unlock Your Creative Self, by Rod Judkins

First of all a declaration of interest: Rod Judkins has taught me to be more creative, whilst on a short course at Central St Martins, where he’s a fine art tutor. I found his teaching and coaching to be both insightful and practical, usually delivered with far more wisdom and compassion than I was applying to myself at that moment.

But you don’t have to be an artist, or even a part-time student of art, to benefit from Rod’s book. It’s for all of us. His premise is this: “Creative people are not especially creative”. And there’s a clue in the ‘especially’, because we can all be creative – if we believe we are. “The gift that creative people have is that they believe they are creative, and because they think they are creative, they are creative”, (yes, it’s a very quotable book).

Some of the methods are more common sense than others – but then common sense isn’t common practice, so they’re all well worth trying. Each technique is illustrated with an example drawn from a range of creative endeavours: literature, science, music, architecture and of course art. My favourites are ‘thinking in images’, which Einstein did to great effect; ‘get out of your bubble’, or how we all need to broaden our world and sphere of interests; and ‘turn things upside down, inside out and back to front’ – in other words, take a different viewpoint. I’m still grappling with ‘building chance into working methods’ and ‘sum it up, simplify’, which is something of a life project for this recovering waffler.

Some of the techniques contradict each other – for example, ‘simplify’ is one, yet ‘exaggerate, overstate, understate’ is another. Yet I think that’s fine: it’s a menu of techniques and you probably won’t want or be able to try the lot in one go or on the same project.

I particularly like the point that we can be creative wherever we are – “The perfect workplace or mood doesn’t exist” – therefore, no waiting around for the time/place/tools/mood to be just right. Accept they never will be and take opportunities in the here and now. As Rod says, “You owe it to yourself to make your creative development the top priority”. Open this book at random each day and choose a quote, technique or inspirational artist and you’ll be on your way to doing that.

You can find Change Your Mind here.

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