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Creating Routine Novelty for Greater Understanding

Creating new ideas can be a fun way to spend your time. If this enjoyment can start an unenjoyable project then that seems worth investigating.

This technique is useful for enhancing understanding about an concept, and can also help generate content, or ideas.

Enhancing Understanding

This method uses constraints to help improve your understanding of a topic.

First find a site, such as, and generate a list of nouns. Then take them and and create metaphors, or similes, to help deepen your understanding of a topic.

For example, my area of studying is in statistics and machine learning. Latent variables are an important concept within this domain. These are variables that you can’t directly observe or measure, but they still affect the process you’re trying to understand.

A metaphor between the depths of a lake and latent variables may be obvious, but one between latent variables and concrete is less so.

Suppose you’re doing a survey of time capsules that are sealed with cement. If you were interested in the contents you could talk to someone who knows what’s in it, or bust it open. Assuming that you can’t open it, finding someone would be the only other option. If you can’t find someone, then you’re not able to ask questions of the contents. The contents of the time capsule are the latent variables. There is an answer to what is inside, but you can’t find that out.

That is one example. It takes a few seconds to read, but it only took a few seconds to come up with. Doing that a few times will have you thinking of the topic of interest in ways you hadn’t thought of before. This turns the process into a warm-up game for the creative process.

Generating Content

These words can also be used as a starting place for filling a blank page, which is often times the hardest thing to do.

Once you have some nouns, put them in your document as the headings for paragraphs. The intuition you built from the first part is the main idea of that paragraph. Now expand further to show how the paragraphs relate to each other.


Getting started with a writing session, or trying to build understanding about an unfamiliar concept can be frustrating. This method hopes to bring some novelty, and randomness, to the process. Perhaps making the process a bit more enjoyable. (Dare I say fun!?)

Published inCreativitywriting

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