JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE WITH EYAL LEVI: THE THREE UN-BENDABLE RULES OF CREATIVITY
Ever wondered why some people can just create masterpieces effortlessly while other’s just can’t seem to “get it up?” I know I have. And after spending more than half my life following creative pursuits and studying the habits of highly prolific people I’ve noticed that there’s three things that ring true.
1 – You will have ups and downs
Every once in a while I will sit down to do something like compose some music, write a blog, or mix a song, and all I get is horseshit. It’s like my brain just won’t power up. I will look at my fretboard and hear literally nothing. The page starts blank and stays blank. Every chord I know sounds dumb, every riff pisses me off, and the idea of inspiration is more of a pipe dream than anything else.
And then the head games begin. Questions like: Am I out of ideas? Will I ever be able to come up with anything again? Did I fuck up at life? Why did I take it for granted when I was actually producing content? I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s a vortex. It’s a mind warp and it perpetuates itself.
And seemingly out of nowhere the exact opposite will happen… When I’m on I’m ON! Tunnel vision to the nth degree. The world around me ceases to exist. All there is is what I’m creating. Time, distractions, people, food, reality… all non-factors. And it feels amazing. My brain feels supercharged. Creation is effortless. Does anyone here get that way when they’re creating or performing? It doesn’t have to be music. It can be anything that requires you to be zoned in. It’s a pretty perfect feeling. And, you’ve got to capitalize on it when it strikes. Because for the most part, it’s an elusive fucker that shows up to the party on it’s own schedule. Which brings me to my next point.
2 – You can’t force creativity (but you can certainly massage it)
Don’t you wish you could make it strike at will? I’ll admit that I haven’t totally figured out the foolproof answer to making those higher brain functions kick in on command without fail — but I have channeled it enough times in my life to know that it does behave like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. And beyond strength, whatever drives creativity is very similar to that weird thing called “muscle memory.” The more you do it, the more you will be able to do it. And the more you are able to do it, the more natural it will become for you to be in that state. And the more natural it is for you to be in that state, the less effect ruts will have on you in length and intensity. But ruts will happen. That’s why it’s important to realize that :
3 – You can’t be 100% at all times
That’s right, you cannot function at 100% all of the time. That’s impossible. But you can make your cruising speed very effective if you just get in the habit of creating with or without inspiration. (SEE FIGURE B, above). Notice that even people who hit genius levels of output have pretty low times. But the point is that the more often they sit their ass down to do the work, the more often the work will be good. Like I said, inspiration is an elusive fucker.
Imagine going into business with someone who behaved like inspiration. Ditching you when you needed them there. Only showing up when it was convenient for them. Giving you the highest of highs, but contrasting it with the lowest of lows. And with no warning.
Treat inspiration like the bitch that it is. Move forward with or without it and you will find that it will tag along more often than not. If you are in the habit of flexing that creative muscle as often as possible your ruts will be of shorter duration. Your next great idea will be that much closer. Think of it like a numbers game. Every shitty idea brings you that much closer to your next breakthrough.
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