Many people believe that the creative process – in art, writing, music, sculpting, needlework, pottery, or whatever – cannot be forced. The juices are either flowing, or they aren’t, and if they are absent one may as well go and find a good book to read.
This is not my experience.
I have been eager to do a final movement for my second symphony, but I want to make it particularly tuneful and a worthy climax to the other two movements. I must say that I am pleased with what has been done so far, and confess that I listen to the second movement, in particular, with some pleasure.
Anyway, I found myself getting promising traces of melodies in my head when driving or going to sleep – anywhere but at the computer – and then forgetting them by the time I was in a position to jot them down. Finally, last evening, I told myself that whether I felt any inspiration or not I was going to start it. I thought a 6/8 rhythm would give a good contrast, and as I wanted to begin with a string passage I made the key signature D Major. Then I forced myself to start entering notes. At first nothing emerged, but gradually a flow started and I completed a commencing outline for the first fiddles which seemed to have merit. Today, after building on that base, I have 34 seconds of music which I think does provide a most promising platform for the work. It is (to my mind, at least) tuneful, interesting, and exciting, and the harmonies I have given to the rest of the string section are making it come alive. Now I can perhaps start bringing in a flute and woodwinds – hmmmmmmmmmm…
Anyway, it was definitely a forced process, but it seems to have got things going pretty well. I notice much the same with writing. Not a clue where to go next, but after reading myself back into the chapter the characters take over again and start dictating! I expect blogging may slow down for a while if I am giving myself a push on the music and on my current novel. The latter I have tended to push into the background in favour of blogging, which is not bright thinking.
As with everything, the secret lies in balance. A bull is far more successful at a gate if it waits until it has been left ajar, or else when nobody is looking takes a nice determined thrust at it until a weak part is found!