Roll Of The Dice: Embracing Chance in Creativity

Roll Of The Dice: Embracing Chance in Creativity
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki

In today's exercise, we are going to let go of our tight grip on structured plans and rigid frameworks and instead embrace the exciting possibilities that can arise from something as simple as the roll of a die.

The dance between predictability and spontaneity in creativity is fascinating. While meticulous planning has its place, there's something genuinely refreshing about letting the dice steer you every once in a while. Especially in our digital age, the raw unpredictability of a physical roll of the die can provide a much-needed creative jolt.

The Exercise

  1. Identify Decision Points: Whether it's the mood of your next painting, the setting of your novel or the main instrument in your next song, decide where you need guidance.
  2. List Six Choices: For this decision point, brainstorm six different options, ranging from the conventional to the quirky.
  3. Roll Your Dice: With your standard six-sided dice in hand, relinquish control and let fate decide your next move.
  4. Commit and Create: Integrate the selected option into your work and observe how it affects the larger piece.
  5. Reflect: After weaving in the chosen element, consider its impact. Did it offer a new perspective? Introduce new challenges?

Tailored Approaches for Different Creatives

  • Discovery Writers: Let the story take its natural course. Use the dice to determine character actions, plot developments or even conflict outcomes. You can also create character-specific lists of unique phrases, tics, or reactions. If you're unsure about a character's reaction in a scene, let the dice choose from their personal list, which you can prepare before writing if you already have an idea of how the character should be. This ensures consistency while adding a touch of unpredictability.
  • Planners during Outlining: For those who like to sketch out every detail, use the dice to throw in unexpected events. If you're on the fence about certain story arcs or character developments, let the dice decide for you. They may bring subplots or characters together in a way that you hadn't thought of.
  • Musicians Crafting a New Song: If you are composing a melody, let the dice decide the scale, the dominant instrument for a section, or even the tempo of the song. If you've got several chorus variations in mind, let randomness pick the final version.

Benefits of Embracing Randomness

  • Overcoming Creative Blocks: When you get stuck, an element of chance can bring a fresh perspective and reignite your passion.
  • Promoting Risk-taking: By removing the pressure to make the 'perfect' choice, you're more likely to venture beyond the familiar.
  • Developing Flexibility: Adapting to the dice's decision cultivates resilience and adaptability in your creative journey.

While strategy and design are invaluable in the creative process, occasionally deviating and allowing randomness can lead to unexpected and enriching results. This exercise isn't about losing control, but rather inviting the surprises that come with unpredictability. Roll the dice and let's take this fascinating creative detour!