Saturday, June 27, 2015

Forced vs spontaneous creativity

Sometimes the creative process comes out naturally and in volume but not at the right time; and if you’re like me and try to pick it up again later, it may have gone "cold" and not much is coming out.
I’m referring to any creativity: writing a blog post, a piece of music or anything else.
I’ve learned a little trick related to this.
When the creativity juices are flowing spontaneously, I stop what I’m doing long enough to write/dictate little summaries of them on my smartphone that I can go back to later and re-ignite; otherwise I more than likely run the risk of losing those little gems of creativity.
There are other times when my schedule forces me to create something whether I’m in the mood for it or not.
And I’ve got a trick for that too.
In those instances, I’ve learned to let any ideas flow out of my imagination as it will and simply note down or in some way record what the output is; and I make sure to not let my consciousness interfere with what is happening. In other words I stay “out of the way” and let the process take place.
What that does is it turns on the “creative factory” and puts me “in the zone” so that something good will emerge.
I wrote a song titled “It’s in Your Heart”, which is a good example of both processes.
The music came out as a burst of creativity and essentially wrote itself. It was quite surreal actually and it felt as though I was only the medium through which someone else or some other entity was composing the song.
But then I wanted to get on with it and get the lyrics done. The only thing is I had a major case of writer’s block. Nothing was coming out and waiting forever for spontaneous creativity wasn’t an option. I took a pad and a pen and let any thought occur that wanted to flow out of my stream of consciousness. Before long the lyrics started to come out and it felt quite magical.

In the end, it is as if the song wrote itself, just as this blog post is right now.
At other times, I do a combination of the two techniques. For example I have no idea what the next blog post will be about and then one day I hear or I read something which sparks a thought, of which I record a summary in bullet points in under five minutes. I then let this “brew” in my head for a while, and when I have time and feel ready to create the blog post, I sit down and commit to write it on the spot. If I experience the infamous writer’s block, I just “get out of the way” and let any idea flow and see what emerges. Once the spark ignites, then it virtually writes itself.
Creativity can be harnessed much like the raw forces of nature, in my opinion.


  1. Mario! You continue to surprise, I did not know you are a musician. That is great.

    I do a similar thing in terms of recording quick snippets of thought - oddly enough that's how I tend to stack my to-do list daily and weekly as well. I constantly have a list of 15 min things across all of my projects, breaking it down helps but it's also nice to just pick and choose which increment I want to work on. I've found that's a lot better, and it tends to help me with deadlines too (even though that is a bit counter-intuitive when you first think about it).

  2. Hey Joe, I can see how that would be a good system.
    Yep music is a huge creativity outlet for me. I have 14 guitars, 8 amplifiers, 3 keyboards, a drum set, some percussion instruments and a home studio. Sometimes I need to lock myself in there, go crazy and let it out of my system. When I get in the zone, it can feel like a rock concert in that room :)
    I have lasers on the ceiling too; all I need now is a dry ice machine, ha ha!

  3. That is so amazes! When I come to Toronto at some point we are going to have to jam. I've played music for years, varying from dirty punk / garage rock and roll, to a bit of weirdo singer song writer, and even some country & western / music about death type thing (which is the current gig).

    How long have you played for / when did you start?

  4. Started when I when 17, and trust me, that's a while back, ha ha! It's good to know you play too.