People who have a creative outlet, regardless of modality, have experienced The Flow at one time or another…or at least I hope you have!
The Flow is that amazing time when, for whatever reason, inspiration strikes. An open door to the creative world has flung open and all you have to do is step in. But… You are snoring away, sound asleep, and an amazing song lyric pops into your head. You’re in the middle of an important meeting and as you daydream the words away, you have a vison of a picture you’ve always wanted to take. You’ve got an infant in one hand, a toddler running amuck, and you’re trying to fix dinner when THE twist that makes your story complete finally comes to mind. You see what I am getting at. The Flow can come at the most inopportune times, but despite all the hullabaloo, we as creative people have to pay attention.
Here is an example. I was sitting on the floor the other night playing guitar…as I do. I was noodling around, practicing scales, thinking of chord progressions, when I played a couple of chords back to back. “Hmmm…that sounded alright.” I kept fiddling around with those chords arepeggiating them, strumming them. “Well..that actually sounds really cool, but I sure do feel like balls and would really like to go to bed.” I played for a little while longer and Kels grabbed her notepad. Now I’m in it. Not only have I tapped into a cool musical idea, my inspiration has grabbed Kels’ attention too. A new song, or at least the start of a new song, was born.
As a musician, I often feel as though the music or the songs I write don’t come from me, but come from ‘somewhere else….The Flow. I like to think of myself as a slave to it. When it comes, I MUST obey or else I could miss an important opportunity to bring forth something new.
So…how do we make sure and take advantage of The Flow when life seems to be keeping you from it? There are too many ways to count, but I will share my method…and it’s something nearly all of us have access to…our wireless phones! When I have a melody that pops into my head and I’m not in the studio…I grab my phone and sing the melody into the voice recorder. If I’m in a place where I can’t sing, I open up the notes application and write out the rhythm and what key I think it’s in. I simply don’t let that inspiration go. I grab on to it and let it take me for a ride.
We owe it to ourselves to not let The Flow pass us by when it comes calling. Write it down, record it, get it out by whatever means necessary. And if you are unable to give it your full attention when inspiration strikes, at least you’ll have the idea out of your head and you can revisit it when life allows.