This post may turn out a bit hard to follow. But the idea has so much potential to reduce or eliminate creative blocks, if it works like I think it will, that it could revolutionize the way producers (and writers, and painters, and designers) do their jobs. Unfortunately it is a new and incomplete thought, so my only option is to brain dump and hope for the best. It might come back to me later in a more complete form.
If the idea in this post seems like it would be useful to you in its complete form, you can message me questions about why I think this or wrote that. That will help me understand the idea better.
Recently, I picked up Tony Robbins’s national bestseller, “Awaken the Giant Within”. This book is a great read for anyone who wants to improve their lives. I am getting some of that benefit too, but in my case, I am reading to learn a better understanding of persuasion. With my background, I see a world in the text that is completely invisible to you.
I only just finished chapter 3, “The Force That Shapes Your Life,” which is about how emotions drive behavior. When you imagine that either the action or the outcome (or both) will be rewarding, your body moves towards it on its own. Likewise, you move away from painful things. Robbins reteaches us (since most of us knew this power when we were young, but have been trained out of it over time) that we can choose how we feel about things, associating different feelings with different outcomes, thus rewiring our behavior.
I was driving in my car through a tunnel when the idea hit me. I have often had the experience of sitting in front of my computer, sometimes for an hour on end, wondering what the hell to do next in my dance track. A wealth of possibilities and damn it, none of them come to me. Frustration or despair mounts until I give up and quit.
In The Force That Shapes Us, Robbins teaches us to imagine the outcome you want, and the rewarding feeling you will get from achieving that outcome. Want to brush your teeth every day? Imagine avoiding the pain of tooth decay, and gaining the feeling of fresh breath. Take this idea into the studio.
I have a breakdown open in front of me. There is one instrument laid down and I’m sure I will change it before the track is done. The drop does not exist yet. The drop before the breakdown does not exist yet. I only know what sections of the arrangement are going where. This is the blank canvas all creatives fear. But here comes Robbins.
As I was driving down the highway, I decided in my imagination that this particular section will feel “calm”. Then the build after it will have more energy. Now my imagination can work backwards: What can I use to complement the work I already have which contributes to “calm”? If I continue with the first part of the break, I can build until it is “calm” and adding more doesn’t seem to help. Or I can move on to the buildup, and when it feels like the energy is increasing, work backwards to go from “calm” to “tension” (which is probably a matter of making my loops longer the earlier I am in the track).
That last paragraph, after typing it, looks like nothing special. If there is something worth looking at, it’s the process of deciding in your imagination what this part of the arrangement will be like, taking time to imagine the good outcome you get from finishing it, and then using your creativity to bridge the gap between where you are now and a finished track. You notice how I have, in parentheses, a method of moving my imagined track from calm to a state of tension? That came to me as I imagined the rewarding feeling of progress I get from bridging the gap between two parts of an arrangement.
And it is rewarding. You feel good when your creativity is flowing. The feel good flow of creativity is definitely incompatible with the anxious or generally “negative” feeling of creative block.
Another route would be to imagine how you want the person absorbing your track (book, blog post, whatever) to feel, think, understand, when giving your work their attention. Work backwards from there. If you understand your craft, and have a starting point for what this work will be about, ideas should come.
I’m not sure how this idea concludes. How to really apply it. Do you sit in a certain position? There were some sparks while I was driving. I hope for more.