Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Checking the Creative Pulse

Every year, I take the engine in for a check-up (though I've admittedly slacked the past few years since I've been moving around so much). This morning, I thought I'd give my creativ

Day 63/365: StethoscopeImage by wenzday01 via Flickr

e drive a diagnostic based on an article that I discovered (via a Twitter friend) called, "How to be more creative."

1. Ruthlessly limit your selection of tools to only the most vital.
Hmmm, I'm a writer, so I guess I'm all set here. My head and my fingers would be the most vital tools and they are the only ones I need (though my notebook sure helps).

2. Don’t listen to feedback, keep following your own path.
Do I agree with this? No, I don't. I don't things are so black and white. It's like when I write about being in the now--being focused on the task at hand--but the effort you are placing into the task should be taking you somewhere and you have to remember that direction. And sometimes, those around you can help to kick you back on the right path. There's a template that I refused to change in my book, though some have criticized it, their comments have only forced me to improve the template so that it works. Feedback makes your art better, if you know how to listen to it the right way.

3. Having a routine is actually not a bad thing.
I routinely have a routine that's not a routine, know what I mean? *smile* I know what I need to accomplish in a day. Rewrite this chapter, write a blog post, discuss some facet of thought or love with a friend, record those thoughts, read-read-read... I know that I have to accomplish those things on a given day, but I don't have to do them in the same order. I have discovered one thing, when I read, I think more and then I write more. Keep reading, Roth.

4. Don’t try and be right.
What's right and wrong got to do with it? I'll tell ya what they have to do with it, if you're writing a story and there are logical fallacies, then the whole thing crumbles to the ground and the moral that you're attempting to teach is lost in the wreckage. Just be right in a way that no one else has ever been right before.

5. Imperfection is beautiful.
Absolutely, our imperfections are what make us unique. You might replicate a famous artist's painting to practice technique, but what you create should always be a function of the unique you that you are. Besides, in America, we don't believe in perfection because we're constantly trying to improve ourselves. Get it? Something perfect can't be improved, so forget about the ideal concept and just be your imperfect self creating imperfect things.

6. Ignore trends.
I'm beginning to think that I went to the wrong doctor to check my creative pulse. Trends are life in a span of time. If you truly want to be creative, you should be receptive to everything that is going on around you and find a unique way to transform it or interpret it for your creative output.

7. Spend a lot of time alone.
I know where the writer is coming from with this bullet, as an INTP I know that I have to recharge by being alone, but should I spend lots of time alone to force creativity? Hmmm. There are lots of ways to be "alone" even when in a crowd. Life largely stays the same when you're isolated. You can dive into the world of a book, a magazine, or a movie, but those are replications of other moments captured in time. There's no substitute for being in the fluidity of life through a conversation, as a participant or an observer, taking action and keeping the mind open to what it is experiencing... don't lock it up in your secure little steel box.

8. Don’t watch TV, don’t listen to the radio, remove the vapid elements of popular culture from your life.
Moderation, the doctor says, moderation. Here is a point that we can agree on. I don't have a television or a radio in my house, so that's no problem for me. But I do believe in two things: there's value in brain-dead activity and there are some creative things being done in popular culture.

9. Don’t try and fit into a genre.
Maybe yes, maybe no. Are you trying to create a work of genius or something that will be consumed by the masses? Only you can know which.

10. Ignore the past.
WHAT? Okay, that's it, no co-pay for you because I think you must want to live on this disconnected, unplugged, isolated, deserted island drawing art in the sand that gets washed away by the tide each day. You can have fun with your creativity there and it will be imperfectly perfect in its lack of relevance to anything or anyone other than yourself.

Don't tell me this is what ObamaCare is supposed to be about, is it?

In conclusion, the creative part of creativity is, basically, that there aren't 10 things that you must do to be more creative. There is no perfect equation to creativity because we're all unique in what we've seen, learned, done and we're inspired by so many different things: a child, a candy bar wrapper in the gutter, the tail lights of a plane en route towards a waxing moon, a darkening sky during the normal light of morning, something silly that Jon Stewart said, the way your lover looks when she's asleep and calm... I could go on forever...

Point is, screw the 10 rules and do your own thang until you figure out what works for you.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]