07 August 2007

Discipline and Creativity or Discipline vs. Creativity

Discipline and Creativity: To me the two are exact opposites; the antithesis of one another. I've read bits here and there where aspiring authors say they really had to "buckle down" and write a chapter a week or whatever. Maybe that's why most of these authors are still aspiring and not accomplished. "Buckling down" should be reserved for painting a house, cleaning a garage or refacing your kitchen cabinets; I don't think you should ever "buckle down" when it comes to creating anything.

When my father and I weren't cracking jokes with sardonic smiles he'd often casually bestow jewels of wisdom which I wouldn't fully uncover in my mind until much later when situations would arise and suddenly I'd hear his voice in my head.

On creativity under duress I remember him saying "A band has their entire lives to make their first album, but only a few months to make their second." And this is so, so true on so many levels and can be applied to and truthful in a myriad situations.

Some people work well under pressure. Some people love to boast of how great they think they are under pressure. I think bragging about working well under pressure is like bragging about how modest you are; and thats not a clever anecdote, I've actually heard it happen.

I just feel for creativity to be pure and real it needs to come when it comes; usually on a whim and hardly ever when you're sitting in front of your tools which you use to create.

I've never sat down with my guitar and said "OK, from noon until two I'm gonna write music". You're setting yourself up for writers block; you're opening the door and welcoming her into your home. If the inspiration isn't there, it just isn't there and forcing it will harvest forced fruit that tastes, smells, looks and sounds like utter shit not unlike a bowl of cherries in February.

I just feel that forcing yourself to be creative means you simply aren't creative by nature. Creativity should come impulsively, at the most inopportune moments when you don't have a paper or a pen. I send myself text messages and emails constantly. I leave myself voice mails where I pathetically hum a melody. You should hear this stuff, its embarrassing but at least its real.

I dunno, I suppose reading a few clips here and there about authors "buckling down" just bothered me; it just sounded forced and boring and arduous. Shouldn't it be fun? You think I'm gonna wanna read your book after you told me your process? How great could your art be if its planned like a dentist appointment? "Monday 9pm - write chapter 12". No thanks.

I guess I like lunatics. I like people who sit down and just write or type and can not look up for hours; shutting out the entire world, lost in their art, in their words, in their music. To me, thats art. Thats true beauty and thats real.

Writing class? Ew. Art class? BARF! You can't teach that shit. You're either born with it or you're not. Otherwise its fake and forced. One of the best ones I've ever heard about was "Stand-Up Comedy Class". Oh, now you're gonna teach people how to be funny? There is no way whomever would invent such a class could even be funny in the first place because someone who was truly entertaining would realise it can't be taught. I find it quite telling that Stand-Up Comedy Class is almost always taught by failed comics and actors.

Let us surrender to the fact that some things can't be taught. You can pick them up, sure, you can learn tricks here and there by watching but you can't sit down and learn them like biology or math and that's how art should be. It isn't for everyone.

So write your book but write when the words come to you and keep it real, yo. I'd rather read your amazing book 10 years from now than your forced bullshit in 6 months. Meanwhile, keep your chocolate out of my peanut butter and keep art impulsive.


Anonymous said...

i always remember something attributed to hemingway in my youth, about discipline for writing, or how he went about it, what advice he'd give, and he said that no matter what, every day he sat down from, say, 9am to 12 and wrote. it didn't matter what he wrote. he could sit and write 'this sucks' over and over for the 3 hours. but the point was to write, to instill the habit, to evolve, to be ready when the muse did come. and i think that's good advice, and what makes for stronger writers, like polishing your tools and keeping your knives sharp. you mighn't need to stab someone everyday that you sharpen you knife, but by god, when you do want to use it, it would totally suck if it were blunt, no? or maybe that's not such a good metaphor....er... the point is, when the muse strikes you want to have the tools ready to deploy your words to the best of their ability; without discipline, or practice, or whatever you want to call it, without the honing, the journey from head to paper to the realization of an idea may never happen to your satisfaction, let alone the satisfaction of others.

anyway! :)

- ciara

Gotham City Insider said...

Yes, I suppose there is something to say for rehearsal. I mean as far as with music... there have been times when I haven't played my songs in months but then I'll get on stage and muscle memory just takes over. But I suppose thats an entirely different can of worms; where your motor skills sort of take over your creativity. Like the repition of a tune or strumming the chords. Ok, this is getting too heady. I think I need a joint maaaaaaan :)

Gotham City Insider said...

Lets pretend instead of "repition"
I actually wrote "repetition", ok? It's early :)

Anonymous said...

o hemingway schemingway :)