« on: September 19, 2014, 04:44:08 PM »
Every creative person has times when it happens more easily than others.
Some of you may know I also do some fiction writing. It's always interested to me that everyone knows what "Writer's Block" is but nobody talks about Painter's Block or Guitarist's Block or Photographer's Block.
In my experience, some people have a difficult time getting started not because they've lost the creative knack, or the impulse to create, but because they've begun putting pressure on themselves to create something "great" or "important" rather than just creating for the fun of it.
When we start out, we often just goof around and explore, and follow whatever weird path we discover. It's fun! There's no sense of "Tonight I must create a wonderful new album."
Eventually, after we have been creating for a while, and especially if we are "known" as a creative person, we can start thinking that each new piece of music or writing or art has an audience out there who will judge it. "This stuff better be good," we think, and the process doesn't flow as naturally or intuitively as it used to.
Very often writers I know who become blocked are like this because they've started to think their first drafts need to be sharp, polished and well-organized. It's even happened to me before, when I fell into the trap of thinking this way.
The way I avoid it is by always insisting that the "first draft" stage -- whether we're talking about writing or music or any other creative endeavor -- should be loose, and fun, and have no expectations attached. I believe "All first drafts must suck." I mean, I really believe it. I don't just let myself think that in order to try to relieve pressure in the early stages of the creative process. I really believe you'll do the best work when you remove any self-judgement in the first steps. You'll never get anywhere if you're judging your words (or your playing, or your composition) in mid-process. Just get it out, have fun, dare to make mistakes, then go back later and tidy it up.
Some art forms seem to deal with this better than others, and I think it's because of this that some creative people get stuck or blocked less than others. Most bands jam and goof around a lot. Most artists make a lot of loose sketches or studies. A solo ambient artist in a studio without anyone else there to play off of, it's tough. Same with a fiction writer, staring at a blank page.
Give yourself freedom to jam, to sketch, to run wild and act crazy. Don't let the "editor mind" interfere with the process. The editor mind will get its chance to judge, to alter and try to perfect, but only later.