28 May 2013

1% Inspiration

I think we've all heard Edison's quip: "Genius is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent perspiration." This is why I make my graphic design students sketch daily. This is why I make my multimedia students write daily. A student's final design will almost never match her sketch, and her final video will almost never match her writing. That's not the point, even though so many students assume it is.

I had this thought while reading a book that wife bought, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. I've only made it into the Build Your Routine part, with the Edison quote as its mantra. Non-creatives and unsuccessful creatives might think that creativity is a gift, that inspiration is spontaneous. That is wrong. Creativity is a lot of work. Successful writers wouldn't be able to do anything with their great ideas unless they had the talent to execute them. That talent comes from hard work.

Wife hates the word talent. She has been drawing since as long as she can remember, and people often tell her that she's talented and it has always bothered her because it sounds like they're saying she was born with it; that it takes little effort for her to use it. Whatever talent she was born with should actually be called desire. She simply wanted to draw, so she drew all the time, and became very good at it.

Not all of us have that strong of a desire in helpful things. I had a desire to play Goldeneye all the time, so I got very good at it. But it has served very little purpose for me. I'm not a surgeon, so I can't say that I need those small motor skills. So we need to force ourselves to get that daily practice.

Back to my students. If we want them to amount to anything in a creative class, we need to force them into daily practice. I'm going to tell them exactly why they're doing it: they're not going to amount to anything without daily practice.

As for me and my summer, I'll do the same. Create a routine, stick to it, and get better at something other than old video games.

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