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How Not To Be Creative

“To achieve your musical potential, you have to commit to the creative process, take risks, and follow your heart.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 112

To gain a deeper understanding of something, it often helps to consider its opposite. So, in the interest of helping you boost your creativity, here’s a list of ways to squash it. Enjoy!

  1. Quit when things don’t immediately work out.
    It takes persistent work to flesh out ideas and solve creative problems. If you throw up your hands at the first hint of difficulty, you can kiss your creative promise goodbye.
  2. Avoid feedback.
    Feedback offsets your blind spots. By not seeking it out, especially during your developmental years, you ensure mediocrity.
  3. Shun doing research.
    Assume that you possess sweeping knowledge, never study the work of others, and don’t ever question your thought processes.
  4. Expect all of your ideas to be brilliant.
    To generate good ideas, you have to churn out lots of not-so-good ones too. By insisting on nothing but brilliance from yourself, you dial your self-critic up to 10 and stick a cork in the first stage of the creative process.
  5. Evaluate your work from a single perspective.
    Writing a song? Only consider the rhythmic groove and don’t get all concerned about the words, melody, or harmony. Better yet, don’t evaluate or revise it at all – accept that your initial outpouring is a true expression of your genius.
  6. Ignore experts.
    Given that expert coaching fuels creative excellence, steer clear of taking lessons or otherwise tapping the wisdom of leaders in your field.
  7. Never collaborate.
    Two or more minds are far more powerful than one. And as collaborators’ ideas cross-pollenate, they multiply in creative power. By isolating yourself, you help keep your thinking on a narrow track.
  8. Take criticism personally.
    When you hear criticism, treat it as a personal attack. Promptly dismiss it, and then hurl some invective in response.
  9. Procrastinate.
    Creative people work. If you feel a creative urge bubbling up, instead of acting on it, veg in front of the TV or give in to Twitter addiction.
  10. Don’t look after yourself.
    On the occasions when you actually do sit down to create, pound away relentlessly, ignore your health, and run yourself into the ground. That way, if you managed to produce anything meaningful, it won’t be happening again anytime soon.

Are anti-creative habits undermining your potential? See The Musician’s Way for help, especially “Fueling Motivation” & “Committing to the Creative Process” (p. 105-112) as well as “Boosting Creativity (p. 309-314).

© 2011 Gerald Klickstein

Signals Music Studio