The Biggest Lie of the Creative Life
The biggest lie of the creative life is that you have to be inspired to make something great. Every successful creative knows this is true.
The biggest lie of the creative life is that you have to be inspired to make something great.
Every successful artist, musician and writer knows this is a lie.
The romantic version of the lie goes something like this— “I was so so so in love with this guy/girl and he/ she broke my heart. Smashed it to pieces. Battered it into a bruised and broken mess. So I wrote a song about it.”
While I’ll agree that there’s nothing quite like drama and romance to get our creativity motivated, the song that’s going to appear after the blood is spilled is only going to be as good as the songwriter who’s writing it. Duh. It doesn’t matter how much that songwriter is feeling the pain if that songwriter can’t play the guitar, write a decent lyric, and/ or know how to construct a hook.
To write a great song, a songwriter must have the skills to express himself.
Since the objects of our affections are not destroying our lives every single day (hopefully), we simply aren’t going go get much practice in playing the guitar, writing decent lyrics and constructing hooks unless we do it on the regular, on the days when our hearts are not in danger.
If we practice our craft, bang out song after song (after song) that is not fueled with angsty heartbreak, and sing melodies until we can conjure an earworm at will, then, when the love goes sour, the song is primed to be written. The hundred half decent tunes that will never make it to the album become the practice that helped build the real heartbreak tune, when it was finally time to happen.
So perhaps the biggest lie of the creative life isn’t that we need to be inspired to do something great. We do need to be inspired. But we also need to do tons of homework before the inspiration strikes if we want that inspiration to amount to anything worthwhile.
I should know. I wrote a giant piles of tunes that kinda sucked before the night I picked up the acoustic and wrote Your Love is Bringing Me Down in ten teary musical minutes. And that song is really f*ing good