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Nurture Your Musical Creativity - By Jeffrey P. Fisher
The creative process comprises four basic steps.

(1) Doodling. Here you play around with ideas, collect material, and generally putter around without any real focus. When "doodling," many people feel guilty that nothing "real" is getting done. They confuse this crucial step with wasting time. It's not. Give yourself permission to "play" because out of the play can come some real inspiration.

(2) Do nothing and let everything percolate. This is where "writer's block" lives. It's often frustrating because you can't seem to find direction. Recognizing the importance of this stage can help you deal with the anguish of hoping for something good to happen.

(3) Ah, the muse. Suddenly, a spark of inspiration hits and the creativity flows from a higher place. Often, the work is effortless and productive. When inspiration strikes, we all welcome it with open hearts and minds. It is here where we'd all like to spend our days, in the throes of passionate creativity

(4) The real work. Now you call upon all your skills to create something special from your inspiration. Once again, it's another place where we like to visit often.

More Creative Notions

Also, nurture the creative process by reading, watching, and experiencing all you can. The more you know, the more you can draw upon for inspiration. Learn more, too. With a variety of subjects in your noodle, the better prepared you are to use the material in your creative work. You have a bigger well to draw from and that can help you explore the deeper recesses of your creative spirit.

Haven't new experiences always sparked your muse? Haven't you created music after you heard a new synth patch, after a relationship went sour, or any other event that greatly impacted your life? Does it make sense to you that adding more experiences to your life should result in more inspiration? Worth a shot, don't you think?

All musicians have "bad days" where working on our music is unproductive, at least on the surface. This unproductive time is actually vitally important as it leads to real productivity. Identify the ebb and flow of your creative process and use it to your advantage.

When you understand your creative moods, you can exploit them for your greater gain. Put the other stuff on the back burner and float downstream. Other days, know that the prospect of working on your music is furthest from your mind. It's a temporary dry spell. That's the day to catch up on all those other duties that pile up. This way you carefully balance your time away from intense creativity with time focused in the zone.

Keep Music All Around You

Even in a dry spell, be sure to take a music bath each day. Don't force yourself on "bad days", just keep music around you, know that today's not the day, and don't worry about it. "Tomorrow is another day," Ms. O'Hara. Look for other musical immersions. Listen to other artists. Throw in a CD of your works-in-progress as you drive to a day job or other appointment. Read a music publication. Practice your instrument of choice. Or simply play for pleasure. Take a minute to scribble a few ideas down about a song, lyric, production technique, or other idea. Even just take some time to promote your music in some small way-- a quick call to a past client, post to an Internet site. Whatever. My point is you can work on your music even when your creativity ebbs.

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Jeffrey P. Fisher's latest book, "Moneymaking Music" joins his three other best-selling music books: "Ruthless Self-Promotion in the Music Industry," "Profiting From Your Music and Sound Project Studio," and "How to Make Money Scoring Soundtracks and Jingles." Get more information on his Web site at www.jeffreypfisher.com

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