Non-Guitar Dosage: On Creativity

by guitarkadia on February 17, 2009

in Non-Guitar Dosage

Whether you’re writing a novel or writing a piece of music, you are faced with creative challenges throughout the process. Not all of it has something to do with you. You wonder why some pieces ‘write themselves’ while others take to wrestling with the creative genius, the original meaning of which I didn’t know until this video.

You know how miserable you feel when you’ve had a misunderstanding with someone or have gotten into a quarrel? I think writer’s block is a misunderstanding of either two minds or the two sides of your logical and creative self. Not saying being creative is not being logical, but implying that creativity does not follow logic yet the paths taken after a work is completed seem logical. Inner dialogue, I guess what I mean, is as important as inner monologue. The term ‘listen to yourself’ is not just hearing yourself out loud, it’s having that dialogue.

There’s no distinction, I think, between an artist and a craftsman. The person in question would be limping without one of them at hand. This writer’s block…what do you make of it? I’m sure you, me, and everyone else will have excellent excuses for when we can’t produce. None of them, however, will be the truth. Sure we’ll insist that we write for ourselves, but when we don’t, we stop producing. When we write for other writers, we stop producing. When we write for a publisher, we stop producing. Don’t lie, you know we don’t always convince ourselves that the work at hand is for your own sweet satisfaction.

Let’s bring it back to guitar. Everyone else on this planet will tell you what you ought to learn, ought to play, ought to record. Your guard is up and holds up well until the people telling you those things are themselves established and have ‘proven’ something. They’ve struck gold, hit the jackpot, rubbed the genie..whatever have you. It’s then that you start to listen to them and, worst of all, believe them. Before you know it, you become one of them. You’ve given up your right as an individual and joined the committee. A committee that has persuaded itself that the way they’ve found the glitter, is gold. Soon enough, you’ll talk like them, sound like them, write like them, and perform like them; become assholes like them. You’ll produce work that everyone has already heard before. You’ll be known as the person who does what has already been done, poorly. You’ll feel less, inadequate, and therefore disfigured. Soon, you’ll stop producing anything. But you’ll keep your committee happy. They’ll pat your back for trying it their way, and failing. But you’ve been a trooper and a team player.

Funny thing is, the danger of joining a committee like that can happen all inside your head. The mind dreams up incredible things. The mind also builds incredibly tall walls for us to climb over. Higher the wall, more our wish that once the wall stops growing, we will be on the other side. Creativity is a constant struggle to climb that wall that keeps growing and get to the other side. I had to get long-winded about this because I had to understand what I’m thinking about right now about what I’m going through personally while trying to maintain creativity, and these words had to write themselves so I could read them. You can say this has been an inner dialogue with myself.

Taking from Gilbert’s talk, a shoe maker won’t get ‘shoe maker’s block’ because (s)he doesn’t make shoes for other shoe makers. The purpose of this shoe maker is to make shoes that look good (not always) and fit people’s feet so they can get to where they want to comfortably and not think about what they have on.

Question: Some people carry around their cameras all the time yet never seem to take any good pictures. Some take good pictures no matter when they pick up their camera. What gives?


Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk.

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