Some days you have it and some days you don’t.
It’s a total mystery as to the why either one happens.
As a friend pointed out when we had a discussion about this over the weekend, Steve Martin once said something along the lines of, “Forcing creativity is like trying to force a shit. You just can’t do it. You have to let it flow naturally.” Now, I tried Googling this quote for verification, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere which leads me to think that my friend is full of shit. However, I did find two OTHER delightful quotes from Steven Martin on creativity:
“Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.”
“Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naivete, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.”
(I beg to differ Martin’s claim of “a lack of natural ability”- he seems to effortlessly excel at anything he tries; comedy, acting, singing/dancing, writing, music…)
But I’m getting off point here. My point was that you can’t force creativity. The same friend whose credibility I question also mentioned a TED conversation he heard about how instead of particular people being genius, we all have genius. The Greeks and Romans believed that creativity was a divine spirit that would enter one’s body at random. I looked this one up and my friend was right. It was a TED conversation with writer Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) and her topic was “nurturing creativity”.
Over the weekend, I thought a lot about the idea that creative mojo is something out of your control. That creativity is a ghost that lurks behind my shoulder, striking through me whenever it likes. Or when my metabolism goes into overdrive and expels the nicest piece of crap you’ve ever seen. It gave me some freedom in not knowing exactly what to blog about come Monday morning. Usually I stress and try to force an idea which is something that is never smart since not only will you be unhappy with the outcome, but your readers will sense your disdain for your piece as well. This theory is countering the long noted blogging tip to “write, write, write”. Well I don’t know about you, but sometimes just forcing myself to “write, write, write!” produces junk. Though I agree the only way to become a better writer is by writing frequently, what’s the point of writing when you ain’t got the inspiration? If my creative juices are watered down for the day, the only thing you’ll find me writing is “Lindsey Buckingham is a sex God” over and over on my empty document page.
Which leads me to another part of the discussion we had with our friend. Relinquishing control of your creativity and giving ownership to a vapid entity is not the smartest move. It’s import to understand yourself well enough to acknowledge when the creative spirit is most likely to hit. For me, it is when I’m supposed to be doing something else like work or school. For my friend it is late in the evening and into the wee hours. He explained that for him, he feels that he doesn’t comes to life until the PM. I on the other hand am exhausted after an 11 hour work day and the last thing I want to do IS STARE AT ANOTHER FUCKING COMPUTER when I get home. I’m often most productive in the morning when my brain has a clear slate and my body is full of coffee. It also helps me to go number 2.