Creativity can be the most fickle of friends. Finding you at the most inopportune moments, and leaving when you need it most. It’s something that is best not to force, as it tends to lead you to poor results. But if it is your job to be creative on a daily basis, how do you get yourself into “The Mood”? When a deadline is approaching, or you’ve set time aside but now cannot find your groove, what can you do?
Find Your Spark
This can be difficult to do if you are not in the right headspace. But usually there is something to get you back on track. If you are writing or composing, find the lyric, or melody you are working with and mess around. Try it another way, slow it down, speed it up, try funky rhythms. Little adjustments can spark your brain and inspire you.
Perhaps your working on mixing, but need some inspiration. Go find some fun and weird plugins. Try random settings, get creative with delays. Add some fun noises, modulation, or tonal effects. The little things you do can help open up your ears to things you weren’t hearing before.
Take A Break
Sometimes stepping away is the best thing to do. Even if you’ve set aside time to work. Take 5-10 min and go for a short walk. Go breathe some fresh air. Go meditate or stretch. Perhaps you can get in a few yoga poses? anything to take your mind away so you come back with new perspective. This helps a lot of mixing engineers when they get stuck on mixing. Taking a break can help you re-focus on things you might have missed previously.
Try Something Different
Do you also enjoy other forms and art and creativity? Try your hand at one of those for a bit. Sometimes what we work on in other mediums can spark our thoughts and lead us back to what we were working on perviously. Go play some word games, or go toss some angry birds! Read a book, doodle in a sketchbook. Whatever strikes your fancy, use that to help you get back to your work.
Journal or Document
When “The Mood” strikes at the worst times, it good to have a plan to document. Thats the thing about creativity, it can have a mind of its own. But use the tools around you to help you later when you have the time. Write down those lyrics, use your phone to record the melody in your head. Sometimes creativity can strike right before bed, early in the morning, or when you’re in the middle of other projects. We don’t always have time to sit down at a computer and start hashing out the idea. But you can at least get a quick document of what is on your mind to re-visit later. Technology can help you stay organized and prepared for when you can sit down and create.
Sometimes our ideas don’t work out how we thought. Perhaps you cannot find a way to continue that song you were working on. Maybe after trying everything, it still isn’t coming together. And that’s ok. Not every song written or recorded is “Amazing”. Not every painting done by Van Gogh was a masterpiece. Thats just how it is. Sometimes we have to sift through our creativity to find the gems. Just remember you are doing what you enjoy. If it becomes a hassle, step back and re-assess if it really needs to be finished. I have books of half written songs that will never see the light of day. But I look at them fondly as memories and lessons. Not as failures.
So go enjoy, create, experience, and play!