“Relatives exist to eat your inner child.” – A.I.-Generated Inspirational Quote
Creativity, inspiration, the spark.
People talk about the creative process like it’s a run on a treadmill. ‘If you get up early,’ they might say, ‘and eat right, and be good and positive, it will come to you.’ As if inspiration is a vitamin you can ingest when you’re depleted.
I had a neighbour once. I still have a neighbour, of course, but they’re not in this story because I don’t talk to them. But once, I had a different neighbour. They told me, as they painted a horrible flower on their front door, that everybody is creative.
At the time, I had no answer for that. I just left and took the cup of sugar I had borrowed with me (I didn’t need the sugar, it was a social experiment with highly predictable results).
Now, my answer would be something like:
‘No. No they are not.’
Because creativity is measurable. That won’t be a popular opinion, I’m sure, but it is what I think. Is my former neighbour as creative as, say, David Bowie? Nobody would claim that. So, if some can be more creative than others, there is a scale. And all scales start at zero (except my bathroom scales, because they are broken).
So, just how does one become a creative powerhouse such as myself, then? Someone so prolific in their various endeavours that Time magazine has never heard of me. The local press, however…haven’t heard of me either.
But, I used to be a semi-successful musician, before my metamorphosis into an ad-type-guy. Semi-successful means that we played a lot, recorded a lot, had fans, but had no money. The way I’d write songs is the same as the way I create ad concepts: I don’t try too hard.
Of course, when you have the idea, the spark, the inspiration, the whatever, you have to polish it til it shines. But, for the actual brainwave, you have to be a conductor, not an emitter.
We have to stop proposing inspiration as an active process and start seeing it for what it is: an art of passivity.
Next time you think you have an idea – a riff, a lyric, a tagline, a mad juxtaposition – just let it go. If it’s good, it will come back.
I’ve never once forgotten an idea worth remembering.
Peas, DP x