Emulate the Greats, Do a Small Piece thoroughly, and Creative Time

Written on November 13, 2012

Somewhere I read that the Bronte sisters used to create stories all the time, just for practice; kind of like throw-away stories.  This gave them skills that they could use later.  It was just a way of exercising the creative muscles.  And another place I read that you can stimulate your creative juices by copying directly from someone's creative work.  They specifically stated typing out a piece of prose, or singing exactly with the intonation of another singer.  Part of it was also the notion that if you emulate the greats enough, some of it is bound to rub out on you.  So with that, I'm including a bit of Jane Eyre, this part is nothing important to the story, but it just shows the writer's skill.  Jane is writing about here her first night at her new home:

When Mrs Fairfax had bidden me a kind good-night, and I had fastened my door, gazed leisurely round, and in some measure effaced the eerie impression made by that wide hall, that dark and spacious staircase, and that long, cold gallery, by the livelier aspect of my little room, I remembered that after a day of bodily fatigue and mental anxiety, I was now at last in safe haven.  The impulse of gratitude swelled my heart, and I knelt down at the bed-side, and offered up thanks where thanks were due; not forgetting, ere I rose, to implore aid on my further path, and the power of meriting the kindness which seemed so frankly offered me before it was earned.  My couch had no thorns in it that night; my solitary room no fears.  At once weary and content, I slept soon and soundly; when I awoke it was broad day.

The chamber looked such a bright little place to me as the sun shone in between the gay blue chintz window curtains, showing papered walls and a carpeted floor [...]  My faculties, roused by the change of scene, the new field offered to hope, seemed all astir.  I cannot precisely define what they expected, but it was something pleasant: not perhaps that day or that month, but at an indefinite future period.

My piano playing over that past two days (yes only two) has been more geared towards learning specific songs and less towards chaos and "oh this seems like something interesting to learn this minute".  So I did a little research online about how to practice efficiently (effectively?) and it says that you should only do a a bar or two (they say 7 notes!) and do it well, and get it down perfectly.  However, I had been doing an entire song at a slow speed, and then going onto the next song, doing the same, and then repeating it all at a slightly faster speed.

There is a lot of research into learning.  We should know by now how to learn, and we do know a lot more about it.  When I was studying scrabble (yes studying), I read that new chess players these days can get to the 'expert' category much faster than in the 1980s because they can use the assistance of the computer for doing game analysis, simulated moves and statistics and probabilities of winning based on what you do if you move x.  The computer tells you what are your chances of winning, and it shows a lot of data related to what statistically is likely to happen.  But I digress.  To learn how to learn effectively, you have to look at the research into learning.  There's lots of it online now, which is why we are now in a better position to learn new skills effectively than we were thirty years ago.

So I found some books related to that, and I ordered them all from the library.  They of course will all come in at the same time, so I need a railway car to take them all home.  Hmmm, what I read lately is that you should learn one piece and FINISH it.  Same goes for reading I suppose.  I'm so undisciplined.

Now creative time.  One of those books is something about Artist, or inner artist.  I forget what, but it's highly rated in Amazon.  It states something about making some time in the morning to do your art (whether writing or whatever); I suppose it's a half hour set aside specifically to engage in your creativity and do your thing. (Painting and writing comes to mind).  It said this because we tend to get caught up in life, taking out the garbage, dealing with the kids, etc. and never ever get around to doing what TRULY makes us happy, which is engaging in the creative process FOR OURSELVES.  So get cracking, and start your art.  Now.