A few weeks ago, The Atlantic rounded up some highlights from their ongoing series “By Heart,” which invites creators to choose a line from literature and explain how it has shaped their work. It’s not simply a tantalizing introduction to this monthly feature; it’s also a nicely distilled primer on approaches to the creative process. It got me thinking about all the thought-provoking material on creativity I’ve encountered during the past year: everything from short takes to long reads to videos. The following is just one-eighth of the iceberg (to borrow a piece of writing advice from a 20th-century master).

To begin with, you may need to find a room of your own. 2014 saw more than a few articles critiquing the trend toward open offices, which have been found to increase distraction and stress as well as decrease productivity. If you can’t literally get away from it all, the perfect amount of liquid courage may help: Apparently, that amount is a blood alcohol level of .075%.  If you’re unsure of how much that is, here’s a nifty solution from the ad agency CP+B. It’s an IPA they call “The Problem Solver.”

361px-Little_girls_and_JudoOnce you’re in your comfort zone, it’s important to stay loose. Judy John, of Leo Burnett Canada, spearheaded one of the runaway successes of 2014, the Always “Like a Girl” campaign. The video started with a base script, but the team was intentional about rewriting it during the editing process, in order to reflect the insights that came up naturally during the process of the shoot. Other ways to stay flexible during the creative process? Turn it into a game, or start with a process that’s second nature already, like surfing the Internet.

On to the visual side. In this talk from Gigaom’s RoadMap Conference, designer Craig Mod shares a series of inspirations that keep him focused on the almost invisible details of crafting apps and websites. And you should definitely watch Aaron Draplin—of Draplin Design Co.—take a logo from inception to concept in just sixteen minutes. It’s a pretty wild ride, especially for those of us who struggle with the power and sophistication of Illustrator.

Aaron Draplin Takes On a Logo Design Challenge from lynda.com on Vimeo.

348px-Cheers_(the_real_thing)_(7194334384)As Charlie Kaufman ruefully comes to acknowledge in the film Adaptation, every work of art has a genre, whether it follows or subverts it. For The Atlantic, Noah Charney found enlightenment while unpacking the almost unvarying formula of sitcom scripts. And The New Yorker ran an illuminating profile on clickbait whiz kid Emerson Spartz, one of the folks behind headlines such as “At First It Looks Like an Old Empty Factory. But Go Inside and . . . WHOA.” It may not be incisive, but it gets clicked and shared. It’s worth noting if you’re interested in having people look at your work in the first place.

Balancing originality and coherence is key to just about any artistic endeavor. That’s true whether you’re talking about the latest Panda Bear record or health care commercials. I’ll close with this list of beautiful sentences from Buzzfeed. Number twenty-five is so good, you’ll split your lip a’grinnin’.

Paintbrush photo by Moe (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHudoznik.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.

Judo photo by Marjon (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALittle_girls_and_Judo.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.

Cheers photo by InSapphoWeTrust (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ACheers_(the_real_thing)_(7194334384).jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.