Those of you who know me personally or professionally may be ready to burn this text and call me a hypocrite. Believe me, I’m getting much better. I learned a lot of things the hard way, and one of them is the cycle of creativity. I learned that this is a natural cycle that just happens, but it just looks like everybody does it different because they all start at a different point. The elements of the cycle are as follows (in no particular order):
EXPRESS CATEGORIZE DISCRIMINATE REST
We can also see that these concepts root in two very much so “black and white” categories (another dichotomy) which are Creative and Technical. The creative aspects which we directly relate to our humanity and our physiological need to create are Expression and Rest. You will either do, or not do. Trying doesn’t count. The technical side of the coin deals only with production. You need pieces to choose from and something’s got to go. If we did not categorize or discriminate; our creative efforts would just be the beginnings of a production. They would remain intimate and integral without the influence of logic, and create personal nostalgia every time we read or perform them. In contrast, without production, these things would rarely reach a large audience or influence more creativity. There is no solid middle ground on which side of the fence you sit. Sometimes you may be extremely creative, and sometimes you may be technical. If you have nothing to work with, you might be very cynical and opinionated. If you have no editing process, you r ideas will never expand. Even the most creative people have something or someone to bounce ideas off of. Conversely, producers need something to produce (or in some cases over-produce). Whichever type you are at the moment will determine who you will likely butt heads with and your ability to calibrate your perspective will determine the amount of compromise needed in any situation. If none is given, the creative process halts or moves to another environment with more positive influence. This is the reason most projects fail. The devil is in the details. It can also explain why the production environment can resemble politics.
Atcham’s Razor dictates that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Atcham was not a producer, but an engineer. Sturgis’s law state’s that 90% of everything is crap. I like to think he would have made a great record producer. Putting Sturgis and Atcham into practice at the same time doesn’t work so well, but if we implement one of them at a time, we can dissect ideas, and then discriminate them to get the good bits knowing how many and what kind of bits they are. Once again, it’s all about perspective.
The canonical Roman poet Ovid tells us that what is without periods of rest will not endure, and Marie Antoinette (former Queen of France, formally schooled in the essence of humanity) said “There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” When we create, we often try to edit at the same time. This will just give us what’s left of the creative cycle. The stuff we throw away is sometimes the stuff we should use, but we don’t recognize it for what it is because of our perspective. We as people tend to thrive on stress and anxiety. They create a sense anxious of urgency that is great for motivation, but the afterglow can be the killer. Most of the time, we need to “sleep on it” and take a step back so that we can have some time to know what to add before we go and label everything and start the cycle again. Our ability to let something happen and discriminate later completes the cycle of production and relieves the stress of feeling you have to do everything yourself.