In my previous post you read about longer creative processes. Obviously, one alternative to this is a very brief or quick creative process. In my experience, the typical way that an artist does a short project is by intentionally setting a goal or intention of doing it quickly.
What makes a quick creative process challenging for artists?
The stress comes from that internal pressure to create perfection which doesn’t exist…plus, composing classical music that is unique but not “trying” is difficult. I’m not heading down the experimental path because it can lose melodic structure of which I crave. 🎻
— Søren M Dalsgaärd 🎻 (@SoMiDalsgaard) March 22, 2018
So often, creative types have a tendency towards perfectionism. Even those of us who know that perfection is not achievable as human beings frequently are trapped into patterns of trying to create it. Obviously, this leads to longer projects.
Perhaps there’s also a temptation to see our art form as the most challenging in terms of timelines and deadlines. I know that I, too, am tempted to assume that writing, painting, sketching, and sculpting all can achieve shorter creative cycles.
In reality, I think that almost any artist can choose a short-term creative project. Clearly, the timelines must be relative to the art form and the creator’s schedule and capabilities.
I’ve found examples of brief creative projects in any number of artistic pursuits:
- writing a haiku (poem) per day times 100
- the famous NaNoWriMo during which novelists write a novel in a month
- FAWN (February Album Writing Month) which my friend, songwriter Mojo, has practiced and written about
- and various instructions for becoming a daily painter
Creating Quickly for the Love Of It
One of the main things that has attracted me to quick creative process is being able to write a song for someone else who may not have a long time to listen. Specifically, I’ve been writing songs for Songs of Love. This fantastic charity is connecting songwriters with children who have life-threatening conditions or vastly debilitating illnesses.
For obvious reasons, I cannot share any of these songs with you. They are private and personal for the child. My hope is that they provide a sense of love and joy for the children who receive them.
Though an artist cannot count on it, there are occasions where the muse strikes in a way that allows for very spontaneous compositions to flow quickly and seamlessly. I’ve experienced this many times in improvisational creation and performance. In even more rare moments, I’ve created a “set piece” instantly as well.
One of the more recent examples was when I wrote the song “Dance This” in a single session. The lyrics and melody came to me simultaneously. Within a few hours, I had created a demo recording of it. Though that version is no longer public, you can hear the radio edit on all of the streaming services (Apple Music, Spotify, etc.) and the Americana version here.
Have you created quickly? What did you create? Why and how did you do it? Please leave a comment!
3 thoughts on “Quick Creative Process: The Long and the Short of It”
It’s hard for me to do anything quickly. I really admire those who can do a musical project in a short timeframe.
I hear you. This is one of the reasons that I need solid deadlines in order to have a shorter creative cycle. Thanks for responding, Gary!
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