Disciplined Creativity

6 02 2009

By Mandy Thompson

Since I started this insane goal to write 100 songs in 2009, I’ve found myself wrapped up in the world of creativity. I’ve had to scramble for ways to streamline this process. I’ve realized a few things about my own creative mind that I’d love to share:

1) The muse doesn’t strike on demand: I’m learning that moments of inspiration come at random times, and I need to have the resources on hand to immediately engage. I keep a moleskin in my purse for new hooks/lyrics, I have an online message center on speed-dial in case I need to hum a new tune before I forget it, and I’ve climbed out of bed to jot down a fresh idea more than once.

2) The muse can awaken when I ask her to: I’m also learning that I can conjure her up when I need. I set the aforementioned resources aside, to be pulled out when I have time to devote to the task. Then, when rested and uninterrupted, my mind can return to that state of inspiration and continue in the flow.

3) I have to foster a lifestyle that promotes and encourages and feeds creativity:
a. Exercise regularly: This keeps the happy chemicals going, which is greatly motivating.
b. Get plenty of sleep: This, too, makes my mind fresh and awake.
c. Believe I can: There’s nothing that boosts my creativity like believing I can achieve something. The first few weeks of striving towards 2 songs/week were tormenting… But, now that I’ve convinced myself that it’s possible, I feel “up for the task” I’m facing.
d. Try new things: I’ve listened to new music, eaten at different restaurants, and developed new habits in my day. This “newness” in my life fosters a “newness” in my thinking as well.

These are just a few tips I’ve picked up in the past 6 weeks. We all work differently, our minds work differently, and I don’t know if all of these ideas will work for you. But, if you find yourself stuck, try a few. The muse could strike!




7 responses

6 02 2009
David (dg4G)

These things are way too good to “just” sit in a blog, even one as brilliant as this one. I hope you’re planning on publishing “The Creator’s Manifesto” when you’re done (woh, there’s way too much that could be read into that title).

6 02 2009


Thanks for the insight.

I’m the same way; forced creativity simply doesn’t work for me. I’m struck with new ideas at the oddest times and I, too, carry a moleskine just in case. It’s almost to the point that I’m ready to get a Blackberry just so I can have Evernote by my side at all times.

6 02 2009

This is great, I found out about this through my friend Mark Thomas. I’d like to participate as well if possible! My creative outlets are writing, photgraphy and mainly: songwriting. Thanks for this great project!

6 02 2009

(I moved that comment to the right post)

6 02 2009
Cee Lew

Mandy how perceptive. These things are so true and probably sit well for many creative minds. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say something like “we all work differently, our minds work differently”. Our responsibility is to learn how our own mind works, feed it, nurture it and allow its creativity to flow.

Your ideas are fab. I agree wholeheartedly with Dave – publish 🙂

7 02 2009
Mark Thomas

Yes! I have two Moleskins w/ me at all times! I get most of my song inspiration early in the morning when I’m in that lucid dreamland between sleeping and waking. I’ll get an entire song and just have to get up and write it down. I love when that happens. It’s like that state allows my mind to be free of the cognitive limitations my conscious mind automatically places on my creativity. But when I’m in that “in-between” state I’m free of all limitations and inhibitions.

18 02 2009

I recall mentioning something like this OCC idea to you about 6 months ago and you said you were ‘considering something like it’ with someone! So why am i only finding this today??

And why is this totally ‘UP” and positive sounding Miss M not to be seen anywhere near so ‘clearly’ on your own blog – may i ask? 🙂

Love to SEE and hear the ideas you have and ‘Do’.


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