“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!
10 Ways to Squash Creativity
- 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.
- Avoid feedback.
Feedback offsets your blind spots. By not seeking it out, especially during your developmental years, you ensure mediocrity.
- Shun doing research.
Assume that you possess sweeping knowledge. Never study the work of others, and don’t ever question your thought processes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ignore experts.
Given that expert coaching fuels creative excellence, steer clear of taking lessons or otherwise tapping the wisdom of leaders in your field.
- Never collaborate.
Two or more minds are far more powerful than one, and, as collaborators’ ideas cross-pollinate, they multiply in creative power. By isolating yourself, you help keep your thinking on a narrow track.
- Take criticism personally.
When you hear criticism, treat it as a personal attack. Promptly dismiss it, and then hurl some invective in response.
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.
- 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.
The Growth Mindset
© 2011 Gerald Klickstein
Photo © Péter Gudella, licensed from Shutterstock.com
What a fun, backdoor way to inspire musical creativity. I’m presenting on this subject at Music Teachers National Association next month and also in my 88 Creative Keys camp this summer. May I reference this list with proper credit at either or both of these events?
Hi Bradley – Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck at MTNA and your new 88 Creative Keys event! I’ll be delighted if you choose to reference this post at your presentations. Gerald
Hi Luke – Thanks for sharing. I concur regarding the importance of collaboration to creativity.
My posts about collaboration can be found here: http://musiciansway.com/blog/category/collaboration/
Creativity seems to be one of the least talked about issues for musicians, yet its one of the most vital. I find that in order to be continually creative, I have to find new sources of inspiration, and continue learning from as many sources as possible. Also, working with other people definitely helps expand creative ideas, and is a good place for feedback and other perspectives.
Nice post! Thank you.
Thank you for your informative post. Your writing is helpful for how to solo on Guitar for me. I hope you write more about guitar in next time.
Hi Dawn – thanks for the interest. With appropriate attributions & links, sure! Please email me a copy.
Hi Gerald, can I adapt this and post as a TILE tool with a link to your website and book? Dawn