Monday, February 2, 2015

Creativity is not magic it's hard work!

A post on this morning's SALON mailing, excerpted from Kevin Ashton's book How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery talked about the romantic notion that... geniuses have dramatic moments of insight where great things and thoughts are born whole. Poems are written in dreams. Symphonies are composed complete. Science is accomplished with eureka shrieks. Businesses are built by magic touch.

In fact the truth is that it's mostly about hard work. Creators spend almost all their time creating, persevering despite doubt, failure, ridicule, and rejection until they succeed in making something new and useful. There are no tricks, shortcuts, or get-creative-quick schemes. The process is ordinary, even if the outcome is not. 

The SALON post talked about Mozart's process. He was exceptionally talented, but he did not write by magic. He sketched his compositions, revised them, and sometimes got stuck. He could not work without a piano or harpsichord. He would set work aside and return to it later. He considered theory  and craft  while writing, and he thought a lot about  rhythm, melody, and harmony. Even though his talent and a lifetime of practice made him fast and fluent, his work was exactly that: work. Masterpieces did not come to him complete in uninterrupted streams of imagination, nor without  an instrument, nor did he write them down whole and unchanged.

Ok! Back to the grindstone!

You can read the complete SALON post HERE. And get a copy of Kevin Ashton's book HERE.

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