Strategy cards for inspiration?

Oblique Strategy Cards For Writing Inspiration? Skilbey Blogs

Oblique Strategy Cards For Writing Inspiration?

Stuck in a rut creatively? Have you exhausted all techniques advised by the great and the good? Or perhaps you’re faced with a dilemma with no clear path to take? Have you tried looking at some Oblique Strategy cards? It could be useful.
I say ‘could be’, as I have not used them constructively so I cannot give any feedback on how effective they are, though they sound intriguing.

The idea behind the cards was the brainchild of two artists, the much revered Brian Eno and the painter Peter Schmidt. They created these cards as a result of their experiences working as artists under pressure and with deadlines. They found the pressures inevitably placed shackles on their creative output and so they decided to try to look for ways to free this up
The idea is that you pick a card when you need inspiration. And then it is over to you; you interpret the card however you wish. Of course, the cards are cleverly designed to open up your mind and options. The first cards were produced in 1975 and there are five editions to date, proving popular all over the world.

I don’t own a set but the cards can be sampled via the following website:

I instantly liked these three cards: ‘Not building a wall but making a brick’, ‘Your mistake was a hidden invention’ and ‘Listen to the quiet voice’. But of course, they would have to be applied to a particular sticking problem and therefore may have a different resonance.

I will give them a go one day as part of a new creating process where I see a no-through road, as they do sound like potential pathfinders for fresh ideas. For artists, another angle can create so many opportunities.

If you’ve used them, would love to know what you think.



4 thoughts on “Oblique Strategy Cards For Writing Inspiration? Skilbey Blogs

  1. I’m not stuck. (I have too many ideas actually.) But I absolutely love the idea of these creativity cards. I love stuff like this. I feel like writers can always use creativity prompts whether they’re stuck or not. I had never heard of these ones – thanks for sharing.

    1. Pleasure to share. I agree, it’s great to have helpful aides like these around. I think If I had a pack I would play with them regardless! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. I was told to do something “sudden, destructive, and unpredictable.” Oddly enough, this reminds me of a friend’s upcoming wedding. I’m a bridesmaid for it; she, being another pastor’s daughter like m’self, wants to keep things low-cost and simple, so she’s recommending a simple color combo that we ladies can shop for. “I hope you don’t mind these options,” she told me as she shared a few pics of pink skirts. “I mean, what matters is that you find something you’d actually want to wear again.” “Oh I’m sure something here will work,” I say as I check over the pictures.
    “Oh you don’t have to choose one of these if you don’t want to. You’ll probably find something else.”
    “What, like if a lady’s on the street with THE perfect skirt on, I can rip it off her and run away laughing maniacally?”
    “Well, yeah. This IS my wedding. Small crimes are acceptable.”
    Which TOTALLY got me thinking of writing a story about that very thing, only the chick wants to hire this goon for a dangerous theft from an evil office enemy…of the perfect skirt to wear at her friend’s wedding.

    Sorry, that was a ramble. I just feel like the more I write ABOUT a thing the more I feel I should really just do it at some point, in this house of strep throat and constipation.
    Have a great weekend! Ahem. Yes!

    1. HeHe! And I’m recovering from a groggy cold and a throat that still feels like its been in a fight with sandpaper! Yes, I can see an argument for small crimes being acceptable. Particularly when you ask them where they got the skirt from but they reply they can’t remember! Add to this, office workers who should be entitled to beg, borrow or steal a birthday, i.e, a birthday should read: sick day, shouldn’t it? everyone should be entitled to a day off on their birthday! I could go on, I have many ideas…:) You started it ! 🙂 😉

Many thanks for reading. Your thoughts are always welcomed.

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