The Treasures of Models and Metaphors

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As Serdar and I often discuss in our blogs, people find inspiration in areas unrelated to their projects and goals. He finds ideas from the aesthetics of music that inform his writing. I took self-help book ideas and created a worldbuilding series. Whatever your interests, sometimes the best inspiration comes from somewhere else.

I think one of the advantages of these diverse inspirations is giving you new models and metaphors.

Recently, I noted a videogame named Slipways gave me a model for stable social circles. The game involves creating a series of linked colonies that support each other. It helped me see that it was a great pattern for building social ties in these troubled times.

This insight helped me see other times I’d had inspiration from one source help me in seemingly unrelated areas of creativity as models or metaphors. My worldbuilding books take the self-help model and apply it to fictional settings. I used fractals as a metaphor for certain patterns in fiction writing. As everyone is aware, I use Agile methods for ideas and models throughout my work and feed my findings back to Agile.

Models and metaphors are ways we can move insights around from one inspiration to another. A model gives us a framework to re-envision the relationships of ideas, even if we may have to hammer a round idea through a square concept. A metaphor inspires us with a new way to see and connect information. Having a variety to use gives us more and better ways to create.

Realizing just how “unrelated inspiration” can become very related, I’m curious how I might see the world differently now. I know I’ve done this seeking of models and metaphors semi-consciously. I’m quite interested as to how I’ll see the world being more conscious of it . . .

Steven Savage