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Successful Creativity

Guest Author - Allan Harris

Creativity is often thought of as a mysterious process. How do you create something from nothing? And how do you make that process fun?

The fun often appears when you take out your box of “what I know” and assemble the pieces in a different order.

It works like this: pretend you have a bag of magic jigsaw puzzle pieces, and when you place the pieces on a table in front of you, they automatically form a picture. Put them back in the bag, pull them out again and they automatically form a different picture.

This is not too different from what can really happen.

As a composer, I have a grab-bag of puzzle pieces:

  • lyrics
  • chords
  • different ideas
  • arranging techniques
  • production techniques
  • Various pieces of software and hardware


I can assemble them by habit, and it will always produce a picture. But that picture is a result of a formula, a recipe I’ve followed in the past. And though it will give me results, it’s still based on a past recipe.

Creative magic happens when you surprise yourself. When you take off into the unknown. When you say: “I’m not sure what I’ll get if I combine the puzzle pieces in a different way than ever before.” When you take a chance.

Do you always start with lyrics? Instead, try starting with chords. Or a melody. Do you like only certain styles? Try one you’ve never used before. Do you play keyboards? Imagine you’re writing as if you are a guitar player.

I have a graphic designer friend who has over 20 years experience in his field. One day I watched him choose a font – for two hours!

Curious, I said: “Do you do that kind of thing for all your projects?” I thought that after 20 years he would be familiar enough with fonts to immediately know which ones would work.

My friend replied: “I put up a font on my computer screen, try it out with different headings and body text. I play with it to see what it feels like. Then I try another one. And I keep trying different ones till I find the exact one I need.”

My friend’s formula for creativity was – don’t have a formula.

  • PLAY
  • HAVE FUN


That’s when you ignite your creative spark. Or rather, when the creative spark ignites you! When the puzzle pieces come together to form a picture that surprises you. When you look at the finished puzzle and say: “Wow! I didn’t know I could do that!”

Creatively,

LNLAA (Oops! Better re-arrange the pieces)
ALLAN,
BellaOnline’s Musician Editor
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Content copyright © 2014 by Allan Harris. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Allan Harris. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Sabira Woolley for details.

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