A Twitter thread by Rob Graves.
Some quick thoughts on creativity. This applies to writers, musicians, artists. Everyone.
We often say “90% of the battle is getting your ass in the chair and just doing it.”
Sure. For the amateur-minded, that is practically the whole battle.
But I’m talking about pros here.
So then, what about that other 10% of the battle?
If you are an aspiring creator, this will be either the best or the worst news you’ve ever heard, but here it is:
A blank page is always terrifying.
Even to those of us who’ve filled a blank page a thousand times over.
It doesn’t get easier.
It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve sold or how many #1 songs you’ve written.
When you’re facing the blank page, none of that matters. At all.
Because here’s what you will think:
“What if I can’t do it again *this* time? What if that bag of magic is empty?”
There’s no roadmap. There are no signposts.
And no matter how many times you’ve previously succeeded, you’ll wonder how the hell you ever did it before.
But here’s what pros know that amateurs don’t: None of that fucking matters.
It’s all lies.
Malicious, cancerous lies. Lies that you only can hear because you’re allowing yourself the mistake of “thinking.”
In the initial act of creation, the last goddamn thing you should be doing is thinking.
Thinking is logical.
Thinking is constraining.
Thinking binds you to forms, and thinking tricks you into believing you are heading somewhere specific.
When that happens, you’ll carry its heavy chains wherever you go.
Thinking keeps you “in control” and you don’t want to be in control, at least not initially.
You want to be reckless, wild, even insolent.
You want to allow yourself to simmer in a primitive, atavistic violence.
“Thinking” kills your primal instinct in its infancy.
“Thinking” squelches those incipient, often brilliant first thoughts.
“Thinking” tries to make sense of emotions that should not be bound by something so mundane as “making sense.”
Thought seeks control and order. This is anathema to creativity.
Thought carries with it the burden of ego, and ego is the enemy of the creator.
What is the creator’s ally?
The creator’s ally (and goal) is selflessness.
When you create, let yourself be consumed by your “first thoughts.”
Pursue your raw inceptions, without “thought” buffering and insulating you from the nascent intensity of what you first felt.
The time for logic and thought is much later in the creative process.
The initial act is untamed, penetrative, deeply vulnerable.
If it isn’t, then you are operating at the surface level.
Understanding this is the closest thing we have to a “secret” of creativity.
But one doesn’t reach this depth by accident.
Oblivion must be cultivated (and embraced).
You go for the throat, every time.
In that first, embryonic, riotous act of creation, if you worry you’ve gone too far, that means you’ve only just arrived at where you must *start*.
Understanding this is what will lead you to your full potential as a creator.
The absence of thought is how you erase fear and ego from the process, and how you come closest to the raw material of creation.
Which is the greatest achievement we can ever hope for.
Give yourself permission to let go.
Eliminate thought, worry, and most of all, any concern over consequence.
And see what happens.