If there’s one thing knowledge workers, artists, musicians, writers, and producers of any kind want to get better at it’s the creative process. Our technology and culture can make it extremely hard to follow through on great ideas; because there’s just too many great links to click, am I right?
So, in the spirit of passing on some high quality links, here are a few resources that might help you center over your work and fire away.
Josh Ritter is a singer/songwriter who I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Half his songs are stories and the other half are the best kind of poetic insights on life. One of his tracks, Girl In The War, is one of the single most important songs in my collection. He wrote this article about how he “feeds the monster,”i.e. his creative igniter or muse.
This is just a blog post on how he wrote one of the songs of his new album; how he fed the monster the books and songs it wanted and what the outcome was.
Josh Ritter’s Girl in the War off The Animal Years:
Josh Ritter’s The Curse off So Runs The Way Of The World:
This is the single best book you could ever get on the creative process. I spare no praise for this book. It’s short. It’s terse and believable. It will illumine your bad habits and distractions and get you fired up in a realistic way to overcome, create, produce, and win.
I don’t have time to tell you why this could be the most important book you own. I keep my copy on my desk at work and open it up from time to time just to read a few paragraphs. It centers you over the ball, squares your body, focuses your mind… then you’re ready to punch it down the fairway.
“You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.” – Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Part of figuring out your creative process is getting organized. Hell, it might be the whole of preparing yourself to follow through on creativity. And yet we can fidget for f^cking ever with our productivity workflow and organization tools. Merlin Mann taught me fiddling is not cool. So I closed my Lifehacker tab in firefox, deleted some projects in Omnifocus, made some decisions, centered myself, and swung away.
In this audio interview Merlin Mann, that crow-king of creative productivity management, talks with Seth Godin, a guy that has good ideas about marketing and is also smart, about our lizard brain, which is that old part of our brain, the fight/flight/sex/survival/anger/ part, which can get us in to bad or badass habits.
Just trust me… it’s some good stuff. And if you really want to geek out, check out Merlin Mann’s long-ass interview on the apps he uses on his mac… I did. Merlin Mann on Mac Apps.
Some of these are good, especially the Seth Godin one (watch). Some of them are just little teasers to get you to come to the conference. Overall, good stuff to watch on your lunch break.