Last night I was taking my dog for a walk around the park by our house. I had my mp3 player on shuffle and was enjoying a broad range of songs, from hip hop to indie rock to oldies. As I was enjoying the weather, my player skipped to Miles Davis’s “Someday My Prince Will Come”. This is it…
This piece got me thinking about “Splice” a recent movie I had seen. During the movie, the main characters, a pair of scientists, were faced with a difficult problem, and couldn’t seem to find a way to overcome it. At one point Adrian Brody (one of the main characters) decides that their choice of music is the problem and replaces a heavy metal track with jazz, a more free-flowing and loose-knit form of music.
And as I was pondering the effects of particular music styles on brain waves, I started thinking about the creative process, how it works and what makes someone creative. While I don’t pretend to be one of the countless psuedo-experts on the subject you’ll find on the Web, I know how I operate.
And what works for me is this: practice. I always liken creativity to playing an instrument. Everyone has the potential to play, and while some are naturally more gifted than others, with enough practice, virtually anyone can become proficient. I find that to unleash the greatest creativity, I simply need to tap into the creative part of my brain on a regular basis, whether it be writing, music, or a visual art (though to be honest, I’m only adept at writing).
To me, creativity is simply taking your experiences and what you know, and approaching them from a new angle. For example, Van Gogh, my favorite painter (cliche, I know), wasn’t so creative because of his subject matter. He wasn’t painting Dali-esque melting clocks, but rather it was the way he approached his artwork. His brush strokes, his treatment of colors, that’s what made him the legendary artist he was. It was the fact that he was willing to turn the world he knew on its ear (perhaps due to his own mental illness), that allowed him to create such iconic pieces.
As a writer, to be successful, it seems you must follow this example, seeking new and innovative ways to tell stories that are probably very similar to others that have been told before. To me, this is the essence of creativity.
With that said, I’ve often encountered “writers” who struggle with writer’s block. I’ve never really had this problem. To me, the biggest block to my writing is finding the right way to say things, I’ve never struggled with a lack of ideas. Instead, I’ve struggled with too many ideas, wanting to say to much and getting distracted, taking my projects too far off base by following tangents.
And while these tangents may at times be distracting, even harmful to your project’s overall vision, it’s by following them, that you truly unleash your inner artist.
But that’s just my thoughts, I am by no means an expert on the matter, I just know how my own brain works.