Creativity is a Process, not an Event
Above is one of my newer songs called Something’s Missing. Have a listen, I think you’ll like it. Then pull up something to drink, and let’s talk about why creating stuff is such a pain in the ass.
My first bit of intelligence-passing with regards to creativity is you need to get started and you need to keep going. Not many people are creative on command. Creativity is something that swells within you as you get a move on. It’s something you more or less drain out of your system through exercise. I sometimes think of it as milking yourself.
Something’s Missing started as a scratchy “Rock You Like a Hurricane” sounding riff. It was then edited down immensely. For musicians, the meter was 5/4 starting out, which I thought added a funky element, but then my singer (Dersh) couldn’t fit his lyrics over it, so I had to rearrange the part into the standard meter of 4/4. So, that was a pain. But Dersh and I went back and forth a while until we got everything to fit. Eventually I said, “Look, Dersh, this is my band, you understand me? You got that?” Honestly, I never actually said that, but I did think about it.
I also constructed a totally face-melting, ball-grabbing guitar solo for this one, before we decided to omit that section entirely, and have a bridge filled with vocals instead. This demonstrates my enlightenment. Very few guitarists are so willing to allow the omission of their guitar solo. Must be all that meditating I do. Or simply the remembrance that I still have that awesome and amazingly spectacular lead in Stone Ground.
Look guys, writing is the same way, and so is coming up with workouts, or starting a business. You don’t get good at something by being a bitch about it. You don’t become creative by hiding away and hoping the muse will find you. You take the risk. You make something, and you put it out there. So what if people hate it? Chances are, people will at hate it. Because chances are it’s not going to be very good. That’s why we have the term Shitty First Drafts.
Nothing ever quite turns out the way we want it to at first. So, we do the best we can, send it off to the gods, present it before the public, gather feedback, and refine.
Creativity is a process, not an event.
PS – You may also enjoy my episode of The Pat Flynn Show on How to Increase Your Personal Creativity.