Rick Rubin on Creativity

I was just reading through the Daily Beast's recent interview with music producer Rick Rubin, enjoying the article but not really learning anything I hadn't already known about the guy.

Then I reached the penultimate paragraph, where they asked him the secret to having a good ear for music. This is what he came back with, and it really struck me:

“I never decide if an idea is good or bad until I try it. So much of what gets in the way of things being good is thinking that we know. And the more that we can remove any baggage we’re carrying with us, and just be in the moment, use our ears, and pay attention to what’s happening, and just listen to the inner voice that directs us, the better. But it’s not the voice in your head. It’s a different voice. It’s not intellect. It’s not a brain function. It’s a body function, like running from a tiger.”

It's a shame this is where the interview ended, because it was just getting good in my opinion.

I think what Rick is saying applies to more than just producing music, it's about all creativity. As creative people, how often do we avoid making great stuff because we try too hard to intellectualize everything or worry about all the ways something might succeed or fail, all before we've even started?

Maybe it doesn't apply to you, but I know I'm certainly guilty of falling into this trap now and then. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that despite any failures, it's more important to go with our gut instincts and actually do the work instead of getting in the way of ourselves before we've managed to take the first step.

Just some food for thought.