September 22, 2010

Creativity Rules

Posted in Creativity tagged , at 9:33 am by Rebecca Hein

The lives of musicians are filled with specific instructions: “Play in tune.” “Your tone needs to be more beautiful.” “Don’t rush.” “Don’t drag.” Writers are plagued with the same mosquito-cloud of edicts about language, style, punctuation, and plot.

This advice is intended to help us improve, so why does it so often freeze us? Because creativity responds to the feel of our work, not to rules. Absorption in the moment is the key: in the glorious experience of music-making or storytelling we forget details and then they arrange themselves.



  1. I heard bootleg tapes of The Beatles making the Let It Be album. The tunes we know so well weren’t properly worked out when the tapes were made. As with many musicians, songs don’t often come fully-formed and ready for airplay. So it is with writing that we have a basic idea and it takes a while to add the “fiddly bits” to the article or book. I like to just type what I feel in my heart and fix the mess later.

    • Rebecca Hein said,

      Yes, and if you do enough extemporaneous writing, it becomes less messy and the fiddly bits sing a better tune.

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