Monday, April 25, 2011

Creative Ruts and How to Avoid Them

-Write down randomly selected words on rocks, find a barn (preferably red and with attractive and healthy farm animals grazing about), chuck the rocks over the roof, scream "Annie-I-Over" at the top of your lungs, run to the other side and with the rocks that made it, see if any of them form any sensical sentences.

You may have heard advice like this before (o.k. maybe not quite as ridiculous) Creative advice like this is not helpful in the least. There is no sure-fire way to "drag out genius" kicking and screaming. If you don't have an idea, THAT IS O.K.

Question Mark Bubble Bauble Ring by Insane Jelly Fish Designs

There has been many a time where I wanted to put up a new piece on my blog and I just couldn't think of anything, or a time when Meg and Dia has been on a very tight deadline with big-time producers calling my cell phone every minute and screaming, "Well? Do you have new material?" 

What I HAVE found to be helpful is understanding that you ARE a creative person. I realize that music and being creative (jewelry) is a big part of who I am. So, I am constantly paying attention to life so that I can use that inspiration later.
The other day I was driving to a guitar lesson, and I saw a little boy standing on a fence in a batman costume. I thought to myself, "What's his story?" (along with the obvious question... "Where is his mother!")

Artwork by the talented illustrator Justo Cascante. You can see more of his work here

I took my laundry down to the laundry room yesterday and a little girl winked at me while I was walking down the stairs. "What was she thinking when she did that to a stranger?"

You may be asking yourself, "So what? How do these instances from life translate into a piece of jewelry or a song?"

The "translation" of the life experience and what it makes you feel is what inspires the piece or the song. Watching that lonely young boy on the fence in that costume made me want to write a song about... a boy with a hard life experiences, maybe some family problems or a recent death in the family made him feel lost and useless, maybe he's hiding underneath that costume. Maybe it makes him feel safe? Or... maybe he just likes Batman. (Watch out for the next Meg and Dia hit single, "Batman"! ha ha)

And the little girl winking? Well, to me, her cute little face and her confidence, inspires me to create something using little black buttons and copper wire wound around in a cute spiral. You know, something childish and daring. 

Some advice that I hear all the time for creative people is to always keep some sort of journal on hand and a camera for documenting ideas. I actually DO agree with this advice. I do these two things all the time, and they always come in handy.

The most important thing is to BEWARE of your surroundings and environment. Don't constantly annoy your company by exclaiming, "Oooh, I'll use that cat climbing on that fence for an idea for my next pair of earrings!" or "I think I'll write a song about our grumpy waitress." (I have been known to do this...)

Keep it to yourself. Keep a catalog of ideas in advance, and pretty soon you'll find yourself never short of ideas and inspiration.

What recent object, experience, or person, inspired your creativity?

Happy creating.



  1. Why hasn't anyone commented on this yet? Perhaps everyone has got a creative spark after reading this post.

    I found a cheap question mark ring years ago and I kept it ever since. Maybe one day I'll propose to my future wife with it. It fits the situation right? I would be asking a question... hahah

    Now that Batman track, I'll be waiting for it! Make the song a good one or simply have fun and make it FUNKY!

  2. Just make sure the ring is made out of diamonds, but not a bad idea! Actually though, maybe the question mark could stand for the whole marriage being a question, and that wouldn't be a good thing...

    I really think you have something here though.

  3. such a coincidence... my group were suppose to come out with a product today (school project). and we just couldnt think of anything!

    i think you just triggered my creativity!

  4. Sujun,

    School projects huh. I always hated those because I was the one who did all the work! I hope you don't end up with the same experience! ha ha


  5. Hmmmmm... You're right Meg. I got something here, and I should stick with it. Maybe I'll buy a rainbow pack of Cubic zirconia so no matter what it'll have the color she likes. In addition to the miscellaneous carat, clarity, color, and cuts of synthetic diamonds, I’ll get some super glue when the time is right. Then everything will be sent to you so your magnificent jewel crafting can be put to the test. When it’s all said and done if my lady says yes, you're the best! (*_^)=b

  6. Don't knock the shock therapy (or rock therapy), ridiculously often wakes me up from the sleepwalking that becomes habit in this modern human world... but still i find falling in love to be the best inspiration of all... luckily i like the sappy emo soup that flows amidst the sparks of new thought... for a lot of years i wrote a few (or a few dozen) lyrics a day just to practice rhyming in metered rhythms and sometimes it didn't matter what the words said as long as they flowed... so what to do with tens of thousands of unread rhymes, i wonder... oddly, i haven't thought of this recently, but your barn dance brought my creative process to mind... when all else fails, i just babble... kind of like learning to walk, putting one foot in front of the other and leaning forward... one word followed by another word and every now and then, something worth reading might happen... so i actually stopped by to read the rest of this because the first paragraph appealed to me in my blog reading list... and once again, i love your mind... hope that's a pleasant feeling, if but for the moment :)

  7. haha, unfortunately i think i might be on the way there already! sucks to team up with people like that!