Creativi-Tips are like Q-Tips for your brain!

Creativity is not a tap you turn on and off. Creativity is not something that takes four to six weeks for delivery. Creativity is not a sack filled with live eels that someone dropped on your doorstep knowing full well your intense fear of eels and burlap. In fact, creativity is not a lot of things too numerous to mention.

So what is creativity? It’s hard to say (especially with a mouth full of marshmallows) but I know creativity when I see it. But what if you can’t see your creativity because it’s camouflaged? What if your creativity has undergone radical facial reconstruction so that it resembles a campy film version of that show you used to like in the 80s?

Sometimes creativity plays hard to get and needs a little coaxing. It might even need to be taken down with a tranquilizer dart. Where can you purchase tranquilizer darts? Let’s save that impertinent question for another time and focus on the creativity, shall we?

Here then are several ways to tap into your creativity – which I guess means creativity is kind of like a tap after all. And that brings me to my first point: location, location, location. No, wait, that refers to checking your moles. Revise, revise, revise. Your first draft is bound to be awful. Blech. It’s so terrible, in fact, you’re probably questioning whether you have any talent at all. And, in truth, you probably don’t. But does that mean you should give up? Again, probably. But you won’t because creativity is a cruel mistress and a part-time hypnotist and once saved you from a burning building and now, well, you’re beholden. You’re Beholden Caulfield.

So do the work no matter how painful and sooty and then revise and revise again. Did you know, for example, that the original lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine” went like this?

What might have been... what might have been.

What might have been… what might have been.

Imagine there’s no ketchup
No condiments at hand
No relish or mustard
For hotdogs ‘cross the land
Imagine all the pizzas
Ordered out instead
You should know we deliver
And tonight it’s two-for-one
I hope you’ll try the Sicilian
And we’ll throw in some extra buns

When he failed to find a restaurant willing to use the song to sell fast food, Lennon revised the lyrics to sell simplistic, dime-store philosophy instead. And the rest is overplayed history.

But you can’t be creative without an idea in the first place, just like you can’t kill a werewolf without a silver lining.

One of the best ways to come up with an idea is to steal someone else’s. If this makes you uncomfortable, maybe you should just give up being an artist and become an accountant or a werewolf slayer instead, Mr. Conformist McSquaresville.

Another way to come up with an idea is to put your thinking beret on and go for a walk in the deep woods. No, deeper. A little bit deeper. Yes, that’s it, right there. Now empty your mind. Also empty your pockets because there’s a mugger in the woods. Creativity is risky business.

But that mugger not only took your wallet and your cell phone, he also unburdened you of all your… burdens and other… burdeny things, opening your mind to new thoughts and hopefully a broader vocabulary.

Still another technique is to imagine your own funeral. What are people saying about you? “He never did create that very creative thing or even invest in a good thesaurus,” they’re saying. “What a waste.” Is that what you want? Well, is it? Of course not, so stop moping about “being creatively blocked” and “hoping to eat a meal sometime soon” and get to the important creative work. Death is a terrific motivator. It’s the ultimate deadline.

Once you have your idea and the motivation and two or three scotches in your belly, the hard work begins. The creative process is part magic, part labour, part digestion. Sometimes the work will just flow out of you, sometimes you have to encourage it. For example, to channel her very deepest emotions, Stevie Nicks recorded “Gold Dust Woman” with a scarf covering her eyes. Sometimes I use this technique for my writing and I find it works zvoiu aoufoya a89,t[;t;wp

I hope you find these tips helpful. If I can leave you with one thing, it’s that “creativity” and “desperation” have one thing in common: they are both words.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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58 Responses to Creativi-Tips are like Q-Tips for your brain!

  1. markbialczak says:

    At your most creative, you can crank out a column about creativity!

    Good man, Ross.

    Love the Lennon image and lyrics.

  2. Charity says:

    Starving artist vs. wherewolf slayer…. the job market is looking grim.

  3. pinklightsabre says:

    I’m hitting the LOVE button.

  4. I’d give my right arm to be as creative as you, sir. Very humerus stuff!

  5. Letizia says:

    I think I may just print this out and tape it above my desk!!

  6. Laura says:

    This would be great if it wasn’t such a painful (but timely) poke in the ribs. 😉 Nice work…. again.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      All joking aside, writing this really was a bit of mysterious creativity. I had a few things to anchor it (imagined “Imagine” and Stevie Nicks) but otherwise it came out. If I had tried harder, it probably wouldn’t have worked. Sorry about your ribs. And thanks.

  7. Paul says:

    “Sometimes the work will just flow out of you, sometimes you have to encourage it. ” This sounds suspiciously like a bowel movement Ross. Perhaps this is not unexpected as you refer to digestive matters in the previous sentence. Is there such a thing as a creative enema in case extra encouragement is necessary? I know I’m talking dirty here on a “G” blog but some questions just need to be asked.

  8. As always, I love reading your posts. Even if I don’t laugh or even snerk aloud, I always giggle inside.
    The death thing only works insofar as that I know I would regret it forever if I died before I wrote all the things I wanted to write. I mean, say in the afterlife there’s still storytelling and writing and whatnot. That doesn’t mean I can still tell all the stories I didn’t get to in this life. Dead people probably have totally different problems than mortal life people! They won’t be able to relate to my characters and my characters’ problems in the slightest! And then there will be all these really great stories I wanted to tell that no one will ever appreciate because every dead person in Deadpersonville will not be interested in them. Heck, I might not be interested in them anymore, except to bemoan their lack of having been told when they were worth something.

  9. shalilah2002 says:

    You have some creative ideas.

  10. ksbeth says:

    ‘Once you have your idea and the motivation and two or three scotches in your belly, the hard work begins. The creative process is part magic, part labour, part digestion. Sometimes the work will just flow out of you, sometimes you have to encourage it. ‘ –

    this sounds like the way a parent might describe a ‘toilet experience’ to her child. excellent.

  11. Even after throwing-up a blog post, I still continue to edit, edit, edit. You can go back three days later and see a much improved, sleeker post. Why don’t I wait, you might ask? Why not post the streamlined version? Because that’s how much I loves yous guys. I loves you enough to be raw.

    Guess who I steal ideas from? ME! I’ve been blogging for, like, five years now. Sometimes I go back to the early posts and use those as “inspiration.” Nobody reading my blog today was around five years ago. Nobody is worse for the wear. Pretty clever, right?

  12. I love this. And I love the fact that you are CBC related and a fellow Canuck. Not that I’m patriotic or nuthin’. Much. Go Habs?

  13. Ned's Blog says:

    #ty}K&^\%vFq0*+ J@”;/] *&yAs<-=lozE# *?lJcR!!

  14. Chris Brown (not the felon) says:

    I can never, ever revise. I write. I post. Which may explain why no one has ever seen my blog. This is the funniest bit of writing I’ve seen. Pretty much ever. Outside of my blog, of course. Which doesn’t exist. So… ever.

    Thanks for making a forlorn Habs fan smile. No… laugh. Out loud. Like, LOL. And here I thought I was the only one with an intense fear of burlap.

  15. Pingback: For this week’s Nickel’s Worth, I am deferring to Canada | Ned's Blog

  16. Mikels Skele says:

    “You’re,” not “your.” Sheesh! Maybe it’s time to crank that tap back a notch. Other than that, though, nice work!

  17. Words fail me, as they are wont to do most of the time,but I can manage to stutter out….Bbbbbrilliant!

  18. I had to google the Stevie Nicks thing because I figured that was just humor-columnist (whoops, excuse me, humour-columnist) exaggeration, and I do love that song so. Her best song ever, perhaps?
    Creativity, schmeativity. I prefer to assume that I suck and will never amount to anything, watch netflix and get impaired beyond all reason, drowning out all thoughts of writing in a lake of beer or a sea of bourbon-and-water (a drink I like to call “breath mint” for its powerful sourness.) Though, to be fair, like your scotch, my drinks sometimes cause the fingers to fly on the keyboard, though, to be fair again, there is sometimes a window of time between drunk-enough-to-be-creative-or-funny and drunk-enough-to-be-maudlin, boring, repetitive, or too much in love with my own cleverness. In the dating world, I like to call it “5 minutes”, the amount of time when your liquid courage is strong enough to hit on that woman, and not yet so strong that you spill your entire drink on her while trying to say something witty and charming to her.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      My success in the hitting-on department was limited to one. I quit while I was ahead and married that one.
      Yeah, true trivia about S Nicks. I should have linked to it because, yes, the truth is out there but not necessarily in here.

  19. DumbFunnery says:

    I need someone to reference Catcher in the Rye so I can say Beholden Caulfield … I liked the whole post but that is a higher level of super duper duper (I pride myself on my thesaurus).

  20. Wordsgood says:

    Grinning big time here. Odd that I should find a fellow Canadian through, gasp, an American blogger, eh? (Ned’s blog.)

    This was certainly entertaining and I thank you for it!

    And now you have a new follower. 🙂

  21. Don’t “beet”? Isn’t that Inspector Clouseau? 😉 Great post – found you through Ned. 🙂

  22. benzeknees says:

    Isn’t desperation the cause of creativity? At least sometimes?

  23. cat9984 says:

    You are lucky that Yoko Ono and her friends do not read your blog.

  24. nehakhanna81 says:

    Well written ….interesting

  25. I spent several minutes trying to decipher the nonsense typed with the closed eyes before I realized it was probably just entirely random. -_- Nice going, Sherlock. 😛

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