Sooner or later, people get stuck on something they're working on. They struggle to get a foothold and don't know what comes next. Twyla Tharp, the great American dancer, and choreographer, who is 80, writes about how you can regain your foothold and find great ideas in The Creative Habit. She says you must recognize:
"You don’t really have a workable idea until you combine two ideas."
Workable or great ideas require scratching, which involves:
digging through everything to find something. It's like clawing at the side of a mountain to get a toehold, a grip, some sort of traction to keep moving upward and onward."
Scratching is about finding the smallest idea when a big idea evades you. The first step is about getting physical like putting pen to paper or brush to canvass. It's different for each person. It involves taking action like visiting a vintage clothing or craft shop, a bookstore, an art exhibit, people watching from a cafe, or attending a concert, symphony, festival, or convention.
In the 2002 documentary, Scratch, DJ Shadow describes how rummaging through crates of forgotten vinyl records in a store's basement led to breakthroughs. The art of digging means there is a treasure waiting if you spend the time sorting through the junk. DJ Shadow say,
There’s the promise in these stacks of finding something that you’re gonna use. And in fact most of my first album was built off of records pulled from here...
...People that dig, don’t stop digging, cos it’s part of who we are. .. It'll make a good DJ better.