In many ways the creative process is like an uncontrolled explosion – it just “goes off” and bits and pieces fly all around in your mind. Creativity can’t be “forced” but happens on a timetable all of its own. It is spontaneous, and never makes appointments in advance. Sometimes I have to get up in the middle of the night and write down a few notes, so that the next day I can remember what the thought was and what direction it was heading. I love spontaneous creativity, and the process is no stranger to me.
Artists, no matter what medium they use (paint, granite, metal, musical instruments or electrons), all have a few things in common. First of all, there is an idea that generates the foundation of the art which is yet to come. Then there is the talent – how does the artist apply the idea to the medium and produce a result. Next in the process is the use of technology, which could involve welding tools, paint and canvas, chisels, paper and pencil, a musical instrument, or a computer – as just a few examples. Finally, the artist usually marches to the beat of his or her own drummer – which gives them a unique perspective that others may not have. Sometimes the artist has a gift from God Himself…and other times the gift is from another source.
Usually, the critical point of failure for any artist is the technology that he or she uses to create their art. Because they listen to a different drummer, most artists tend to be self taught. There is something very “organic” about teaching yourself how to use the tools that create your art. The opposite direction is the artist that has learned their craft from private instructors all the way through the university system. Most artists will acknowledge that this ensures a complete understanding of the tools involved, but the creative process suffers because the skills that are learned are filtered, processed and institutionalized to the extent that any creativity remaining has become homogenized to the extent that it is no longer recognizable to what it once was or could have been. In a word – stale and contrived.
It is the rare artist that both knows intuitively and educationally how to use the tools of their trade. Many great musicians don’t know how to read music and are self taught to the extent that they can just play by ear. The rare exception is the artist that is creative, gifted and extremely knowledgeable regarding the tools of their trade.
Technology isn’t my strong suit. I can use computers and software to accomplish what I need to do, but I’m no expert in them. I have never read a manual about any piece of electronic equipment that I could fully understand. These manuals are written by some engineer or technician that doesn’t speak my language. The organic and intuitive nature of things is what I understand – and what I thrive on. The hardest part for any artist to do is the follow through that brings their craft to final completion, such as: business and accounting, invoicing, marketing, editing and proof reading, merchandising, packaging, distribution and sales for a few examples. That’s why often times an artist has another person involved that takes care of the minutiae – all the detail work that isn’t involved in the creative process. Most artists thrive and crave the creative process to such an extent, that if they could, that’s all they would ever do. Even eating and sleeping take a back seat to the creative energy and satisfaction that they obtain from the process.
The good news for me is that I can actually do both halves of the process – but the organization of it all takes a row in the back of the bus in terms of satisfaction – it is the creative process and the resulting “burst of energy” that is actually driving the bus. Since my first update, I have gone back and exported everything that I’ve written into individual Word documents that are stored in proper folders in the documents section of my laptop. Everything has been spell checked by Word and cleaned up. It turns out that for various reasons it’s easier for me to copy a new article into a Word document and then spell check and edit both the blog draft and Word document at the same time. Pasting a document into the blog alters the font and spacing between text lines just enough to make it irritating to me. At least I have a process that works, as the blog software still won’t spell check my document correctly as I draft it. There will always be issues in life. It’s how you deal with them that counts in the end.
So now I’m ready to press on. In essence, this blog is really the “virtual” me, and I’ll try to distill the essence of who I am into each and every article. I’ll try to rotate new material with some of the established categories that I’ve already introduced. I’ll work my songs into the rotation right from the start. At the end of the day this pause in the action wasn’t the result of a “train wreck” but only the derailment of the caboose. Everything’s back on track and we’re building up steam again. So take your seats and enjoy the scenery – we’re headed into some beautiful terrain up ahead and I think you’ll enjoy the views! 🙂