Friday, March 1, 2013

Creativity Multiplied

     More than once I have observed that the work and process I invest into writing is no different than the investment I make in the study of classical piano. Both require mind and body to work together as partners. Both require discipline and dedication to increase skill and confidence. Both require principles of relaxation, visualization, and concentration. To enhance the flow of words to paper and the flow of notes to keys, requires my inner muse to stay by my side.
     Equally interesting is the time needed for incubating, distancing, illuminating, and verifying. For instance, the writing process:
  • the mulling around or incubating of a character or tone. The subconscious simmers with possibilities if I leave it alone, and I'm rewarded with insights and solutions when I return.
  • distancing and illuminating work hand-in-hand. When I put mental distance between myself and the project by taking a small break to let it incubate––I return refreshed because I've been, in a way, "working" while cooking, gardening, or driving. It's a paradox, I admit.


  • Donna's desk with the tools
    for practice, writing, and study.
  • verifying is testing what I've done in the other two processes.  Only then is the project ready for rewriting, for smoothing out the wrinkles, for polishing and perfecting until I'm satisfied with the final version.
  • acquiring the language of writing, whether fiction or poetry.
Here are my writing tools:
  • a writing surface (desk)
  • pen, pencil, and paper 
  • journal-type books
  • reference books
  • computer, a mechanical instrument made up of keys
  • item for inspiration (a snake skin in a plastic baggy)

   The process for piano study is quite similar:    
  • incubating, the mulling around, of time and key signatures, to think and feel musically. The subconscious simmers if I leave it alone. I'm rewarded with insights and solutions when I return.
  • distancing and illuminating work hand-in-hand. When I put mental distance between myself and a piece by taking a small break, or practicing scales, or some other piano activity, I allow the music to incubate for just the right time––I come back to it refreshed. Even if I return a day later, I'll have resolved playing/fingering/notation issues because I've been, in a way, "working" while cooking, gardening, or driving. Again, it's a paradox, but one that works

  •      
    Donna's Baldwin with the tools
    for practice, writing and study.
  • verifying or recognizing patterns is similar to what I've done in the other two processes. I concentrate, in practice and study, on melody, rhythmical harmony, and finger patterns. It makes for better sight reading and improves memorization and interpretation. Only then am I ready for polishing and perfecting the details.
  • acquiring the language of music for the piano.
    Here are my piano tools:
      • a piano, a mechanical instrument made up of keys
      • #2 pencils (no pens allowed)
      • metronome
      • lesson books
      • sheet music
      • book of blank music sheets 
      • items for inspiration (angel quartet with string instruments)

           Relating these similarities, reinforces for me, that writing and piano study complement each other. My piano is my computer, and the tools vary only by what the discipline requires.

           Writers are artists, and art takes many forms. If another art form is in your life, have you been able to identify with the similar traits?