A Few Thoughts On Creativity
Writing all of these blog posts have given me a real opportunity to get a better understanding of creativity. When I started writing on Medium, I had a lot of things wrong about the creative process.
Here are a few things I have learned about creativity…
Lesson #1 Your EGO will crush your creativity.
Our ego’s are these very real monsters that reside in all of us that have this insatiable hunger. We feed them with acclaim, toys, and attention. When you allow your ego to be in control, your focus is on the fruits of the creation instead of the creation itself. This focus will shut down all of your ideas.
Medium has this feature that allows you to see how many people read your posts. Statistics are like crack to the ego and mine was lovin’ the stats. I received some moderate attention when I started writing and my ego got all out of wack. I found myself writing for a reaction from readers instead of just expressing myself.
Don’t be like me. Create, and let the reactions occur organically.
The reason why musicians suffer that sophomore jinx after a successful first album is because their ego has gotten so big that the artist in them from the first album is gone. The first album they just wanted to be heard. Now they are concerned with how many records they sell on the first week or whether a song will work on the radio.
If not held in check, your voracious appetite for applause will block you from creating meaningful art.
Lesson#2 Don’t be the driver
When I write sometimes I have the tendency to try to drive the words. There is force involved and I like shoving the sentences around. This method is slow and exhausting. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I am my most creative when I simply let go of the wheel.
When it comes to art and creativity I like to look at it as this energy field. The people you call creative are not really pushing but are opening themselves up to this field of creativity. My best work that I have created was when I was able to shed all ownership of the project and became a conduit through which the work flows.
If you ever find yourself stuck on that blogpost/song/novel, stop trying to steer it so much. Open yourself up to whatever is trying to come through you.
(Keep one thing in mind, this doesn’t mean wasting hours just sitting around waiting for the magic to happen. Opening yourself up takes practice. That practice comes from ACTIVELY working on your art everyday.)
Lesson #3 Let the story take you somewhere
When I first started writing, I wrote my posts like a research paper. I would have this rigid outline that I did not deviate from. One day while I was writing, I heard a voice in my head saying, “I don’t want to go there, I want to take this post way over here.”
I listened, and from that day on my outline was no longer a rigid guideline. It is now just a list of suggestions.
When you get the inclination to veer left out of nowhere, just shrug your shoulders and see where it takes you. I like to watch jazz musicians play live because they live and die with this idea. They are always allowing the music to take them down all kinds of alleys. They are not bound by rules are assumptions. They are open to where the music takes them and the results are amazing.
Rigidity will always stifle what is trying to come out. Stay loose, my friend.
To all my creatives, I feel your pain. The quest to create that definitive work is not an easy one.
Hopefully, some of my thoughts around creativity will help you in some way.