Exploring Creatively

by Chris McGinty of AccordingToWhim.com

I’m not sure why Miguel didn’t
post it as a blog post, but he left a comment on a blog post I wrote a while back, and I just now saw it. My original post had to do with a concept that I’d
been working out in my head relating to creativity and iteration. I used the
backdrop of an old debate that Miguel and I had about forced creativity. I’m
not sure he fully understood what I was saying about creativity isn’t always
about being in the zone. Sometimes it’s about tinkering with thoughts whether
you get something great out of it or not. I might go over that again at some
point, but I’d like to actually deal with some of the stuff he wrote in his

“I’m a believer that your work
shouldn’t be dictated by just making your fingers move.” – Miguel Cruz
I find this interesting. Some
musicians find it difficult to go a day without picking up an instrument and
playing for a little while. You can usually spot them, because they’re often
working musicians. On the other end of the spectrum, you have musicians like
Miguel and me. We don’t tend to play every day. You can tell because Miguel isn’t
all that good if you were to compare him to Jerry Cantrell. And I’m not all
that good if you compare me to anyone who has played a guitar for at least a
Miguel talked about our days as
songwriters and how he felt that it was way more miss than hit. I think that was
the point of my original post, and where we still disagree. We wrote a few
songs back in the day that if we went into the studio with a good producer and
engineer would make great tracks. We also wrote some that they wouldn’t want to
waste the studio time on. Miguel seems focused on the number of failures littering
the floor in the museum of our few successes. I’m focused on the successes,
because I find them more interesting to contemplate.
In reality, Miguel and me getting
together for two and half hours to watch Star Wars together seems to be
difficult, but let’s pretend an alternate reality where for 20 years Miguel and
I had gotten together once a month for four hours. During that time we spent
half the time writing new music and half the time practicing and iterating
music we’d already written. If we only completed 5 songs a year and only 10% of
those songs were good, Miguel’s view might be that we failed 90% of the time.
My view would be that we had a great album of 10 songs that people would hear
and believe that we should have been big time. On top of that, both of us would
be better guitar players. I’m not sure I see the downside of making your
fingers move.
I’ll get into other aspects of
Miguel’s comment later. For now, I just want to double back on my point, which
is that creativity is about exploring as much as it’s about creating amazing
things. The exploring leads to the amazing. I think that was one of the flaws
of our thinking back then. We didn’t understand the power of exploring.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who
often gets the Dora the Explorer theme stuck in his head. It’s possible it’s
there now. If you’re really quiet, you might be able to hear it.

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