The image of a 37 year old man waking up on his parent’s couch in the basement and shuffling to the kitchen at 2pm to have a bowl of cereal before he “starts” his day is a stereotypical view many have of musicians and other creative types…are they justified in thinking so?
There are always exceptions to every rule, however, I would argue that even the most hard-working creative type can err towards the ease of saying, “I’ll just finish that project later” - the statement that usually leaves painters with canvas upon canvas of unfinished paintings, authors with novels and short stories that trail off before resolve is found for their characters, and songwriters with dozens of songs that have a first verse and a chorus, but the elusive second verse is lost in a sea of Word documents and eraser shreds.
Is that to say that all artists are lazy? No. Is that to say that we all can’t benefit from some discipline in our craft and the practice of our art form? Almost certainly, we can.
Inspiration is very difficult to generate – some might even say impossible. However, we can train our brains to be more prepared to expedite the creative process when inspiration rears its mysterious face. This can involve anything from training your mechanical skills (practicing your scales with your instrument, bettering your brushstrokes, etc.) to developing the process by which you get into your creative mode.
I’ve begun (at the advice of a book entitled Writing Better Lyrics) writing for a designated period of time each day – that’s something that I haven’t done for years. The purpose of doing that is to train the creative side of my mind to more easily get into the “creative zone” and for the flow of the writing process to go more smoothly and more expeditiously. I love exercises like this. No matter how far along we are in whatever we do, there is always room for growth. The illustration of athletes in training is perfect to draw an analogy to this – the creative “muscles” can certainly go into a state of metaphoric atrophy if they lie dormant for too long. Keeping them in training and practice makes them much sharper and able to be called upon much more quickly when inspiration strikes.
So, as any personal trainer, tutor, music teacher, creative writing professor, or brew master would tell you – just keep doing it, it’ll get better.
Stay creative my friends,