I remember when I was a kid, it seems from an early age I would write down stories in a journal. I did this at school, but I also did it at home. After all, my mom was (and is) a writer herself. Writing was just a normal part of life in our household, I guess.
When I was really young (maybe 11 or 12? Not sure), I realized that I could improvise music easily and effortlessly. It just occurred to me, kind of like an equivalent realization as a child that I was a runner.
During my college years, I did “the Artist’s Way” workbook, a 12-week program modeled after 12-step programs… for artist’s “in recovery.” Not from drugs or alcohol, but from creative blocks! It actually is a very cool concept.
The morning pages are a central activity to that workbook. You write three pages in the morning, stream of consciousness, whatever you want, for about fifteen minutes
I decided to take it on because I wanted to be creatively unstoppable! In other words, I wanted always to be able to access my ideas, without any censoring. I wanted to become immune to creative blocks!
For many years I have done the morning pages. I was even doing them up until a few years ago, when I started to transition into what became my “cafe writing,” now just the free-form journal writing I do basically every day.
I have found that this ease with writing is an incredible tool, not just as a writer but also as a creative artist. No matter what, I always have confidence that I can come up with something! I put that to the test when I did my 365 Day Blogging Project. It worked!
I have the same confidence and ease around creativity when it comes to composing and improvising music. I recently posted a video of myself improvising at the piano. The idea that I was going to come up with some fast, lively music just hit me, so I immediately asked my wife to record it. Check it out here.*
I think that ideas occur to all of us on a regular basis. The key is to find a way to capture and develop those ideas. I am proud that I have developed the tools I have to do so, so that I always have the freedom to create.
*I have an unfortunate confession to make here. I thought of actually sharing the video of my piano improvisation directly on this page, but then I realized I didn’t want to. Why? I guess because right now it would feel a lot more like marketing, which, sadly, feels more like STRESSING OUT than having fun. This is the result of years misaligned “efforting” around my music career, I guess. I am optimistic that one day this will change. In the meantime, I will write my silly little posts that I enjoy without any expectation or attachment.