A Few More Creative Ramblings

Okay, I’m pretty sure I’ll be done rambling on creativity and the right brain after this. There’s a couple more things I spent some time examining and thinking about, so here it goes…

(The quoted bits are again from “How To be Creative”.)

The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me.

I’ll confess that this is an area I struggle with from time to time. There’s really no shame in that, it’s to be expected. Every creative person at some point desires the latest gadget, tool, or toy and convinces themselves that it will make them more creative, or make it easier for them to create.

It’s an excuse, really. It lets us attempt to justify our failures by blaming it on the tools (or lack thereof) rather than on our own shortcomings. Failure is part of the process, accept it and move on. You learn more from your failures than your successes, if you’re smart enough.

It’s also a convenient scapegoat for why were not creating to begin with. “I don’t have the right tools.” we say to ourselves, and put off our creativity until we can attain the things we think we need to be most creative.

Knowing that we do this is the first step towards avoiding it. Learn to identify when you’re making excuses, blaming your tools. Go one step further: Challenge yourself. Put away all your tools and resources except one. Now create. You might be surprised by what you come up with.

Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

Everybody is too busy with their own lives to give a damn about your book, painting, screenplay etc, especially if you haven’t sold it yet. And the ones that aren’t, you don’t want in your life anyway.

Making a big deal over your creative schtick is the kiss of death. That’s all I have to say on the subject.

Damn straight.

Most people I know aren’t even aware that I write music. Or that I write. Or that I draw. Or any other creative activity. The people that are closest to me know, the people that matter. I tell them more because it’s part of sharing who I am more than “Hey! Listen to what I did!”

Sure, I put my music on my website. Sure, I keep this blog out in the open. The stuff I do is out there for people to discover, I’m not hiding anything. But I’m not seeking any validation from anybody on what I do. I do these things for me. For how they make me feel while I’m doing them, and for how they make me feel when I reflect back on them later.

This is why I have music I’ve written than no one else will ever hear. It’s why I have posts in this blog that are marked “private” that no one else will ever read. Why I have notebooks full of doodles and writings that no one else will ever see or read. Those are just for me, little secrets I’ve told only myself.

Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

If you have something to say, then say it. If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts. The noise will return soon enough. In the meantime, you’re better off going out into the big, wide world, having some adventures and refilling your well.

This is one of things I find satisfying about the “jack of all trades/master of none” nature of my right brain. If I’m in a rut musically, I can write for a bit, or go and draw something. Though, sometimes all the wells run dry at the same time. For those occasions I usually follow his suggestion above: go off and do something else.

Other times, when I have that creative fire but lack the inspiration to fulfill it, I take that as an opportunity to focus on the more mechanical aspects of things. Examples from my musical side: I’ll sit down with a guitar and practice some scales for a while. I’ll fire up the sequencer, set it to play a single chord, find an interesting synth sound, and then deconstruct it and tweak it into something new. I’ll fire up Reaktor and start building an instrument from scratch. I may not be creating, but I’m learning.

Stop learning and you’re dead.

Okay, that’s it. I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten that out of my system. I’ve been practicing a lot of introspection lately, so it won’t be the last of the ramblings, but I think I’m done with this topic.

For now.

Now, about that unicorn…