If you are anything like I am, you have many different ways in which you create. I think it is safe to say that we are all musically creative. We write, arrange, sketch, play, edit, perform, design, distort, and produce audio for various formats and productions. In my own career, however, I also like to work on my website, which I take care of myself. I love to take certain segments of our podcasts and edit/tweak them as a temporary (and I let me stress the word temporary!) tangent from my current scoring assignment. Though I am in no way, shape, or form a graphic designer, I have a fairly evolved sense of design aesthetic, and I very much enjoyed creating my own logo for my company. I design and create my own demo materials, promotional literature, and to a more limited degree, I like opening up Photoshop and seeing what trouble I can get into with my photos and graphics. To me, each one of these things is another creative outlet, and all of them allow me to divert my creative attention, albeit momentarily, to things other than film scoring. After all, you need an ear break every once in awhile, right?
I once heard a speaker talk about our “Creative Gas Tank.” As he put it, our creative gas tank is the level of output we are able to handle as creative individuals. Just like an automobile, we have a creative reserve to draw from that is only so deep. Once that reserve is tapped, we must refill somehow in order to continue our creative flow. Like the car you drive, if your tank is empty, it is only a matter of miles/feet/inches before you break down on the side of the road.
Obviously, you need to “refuel” when necessary, and there are as many ways to do that as there are to empty the tank. I take a lot of walks around the neighborhood of my studio. Even a little bit of simple physical activity is enough to grease my creative wheels and get me back to creating on all cylinders. Time spent with my family is often my #1 choice for getting recharged. It is very easy for me to “forget” about work when I am with them, and yet when it’s time to get back to it, I never feel more refreshed and energized than I do when I’ve just spent time with them. Other times, working on a completely unrelated creative task (like the ones mentioned above) will replenish whatever creative capital I’ve spent.
For you, refueling might look a bit different. Like me, it could be time away from the project spent either with some other creative task or out with your family taking a break from all things creative. For others of you, it might be working on a piece of music that is wholly different from the current assignment, maybe a pop tune or an arrangement of your latest concert piece.
What things refill your creative tank? What actions can you specifically point to that have given you the freedom to then come back to your assignment armed with a fresh perspective and ready to jump back in where you left off?
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