JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE WITH DAATH’S EYAL LEVI: CREATIVE PRISON IS FOR PUSSIES
I’ll admit, I had some writer’s block coming into this blog. Sometimes it’s hard to think of what to write. I’ve been racking my brain for a few days now with the burning question… “What will I write about next time?” Good fucking question, and I really don’t have an answer in sight. So I’ve decided that I’m just going to write about not knowing what to write.
Writer’s block is an interesting thing. It’s kinda like having mental constipation. You know the ideas are in there. You know the ideas want to come out. But something is just clogging the passageway. I guess the only way to get the ideas to bubble forward is to move some shit around. So I’m doing that by exploring this topic, which by the way, is one that many people write to me about.
I think my strongest suite as a musician is in composition. I’m a much better writer than I am a player. To me, that’s where it’s at. Sit me down for a year and I’ll write you a few records. It’s what I do. and I’m used to getting questions like, “How do you come up with ideas like…?” or “How did you learn how to write so much?”, etc. Well, I guess my overarching answer to all “how to” writing questions is this — “JUST FUCKING DO IT!”
Sounds simple right? It is and it isn’t. There are certain truths pertaining to writing that I’ve come to realize. For instance, if you don’t just sit down and do it, it’s not going to happen. The material isn’t going to write itself. Another truth I’ve noticed is that inspiration should be viewed as a bonus. If you only write when you’re inspired, then what do you do when you’re not inspired? Not write? What if you have a deadline? Are you just going to tell the people paying your bills that you just weren’t inspired? Not if you want to stay employed.
Inspiration is just a mood. Moods are malleable. I actually find that inspiration can be cajoled into showing up merely by sitting there and starting the idea flow. The brain is a muscle. You need to work it out. Think about working out before you’re actually warmed up. Bad idea, right? Well, by that same token, why would someone think that it’s always going to be possible to just get struck by the lighting bolt of creativity, and that things will take care of themselves? That seems to me like a very risky way to approach the topic. Especially if you want to do this as a career.
And by the way, this extends for all creative fields. True pros know how to call up their creativity on command. They don’t just wait for it to show up. Being a slave to inspiration in that way is the same as not doing something you should do just because you don’t feel like it. What if your boss at work asks for something you were supposed to do, and your answer for why you didn’t was, “I didn’t feel like it?” That shit just wouldn’t fly.
Well, same thing with writing. Sit you ass down and write. And if you’re not coming up with ideas that blow your mind, keep going. Keep building off of the ideas and eventually the light bulb will come on over your head. I know this is true because, trust me, I don’t always feel like writing. Like right now for instance. I had no idea what the fuck to write about. Sometimes a topic hits me out of nowhere, and that makes my life easy, but sometimes I have to just sit there and will it into reality. Now, about five-hundred words in, I’m flowing. Again, the working out analogy is appropriate here. The warmer you get, the looser you are, and the easier it is to actually work out.
There are many romantic notions about being an artist. Those romantic notions are usually perpetuated by people who don’t actually have anything to do with creating art. This isn’t something you can really understand unless you’ve been there and done that. So on the outside looking in, it may seem like those of us who create art are creatures of inspiration and that there’s major “A-HA!” moments involved. While that’s partly true, at the end of the day, what’s most important is how far you’re willing to push yourself past your own internal resistance. If you can overcome that and write as a habit no matter how you’re feeling, you will be able to figure out how those of us you look up to come up with the ideas we come up with.
Best of luck with your creative endeavors, and if you guys want to trade any tips or ask any further questions on writing or creativity, let’s get it going. This is a topic that always fascinates me.