Art of the Song

Space and Stillness

Creativity needs space to happen.

By Don Richmond | Posted 3/15/07 | Updated 5/8/23

Something that I've noticed about creativity in my life is that it needs space to happen.

I think of it as a bubble or bubbles rising up, like the creative thought that might lead to writing a song or just having a new take on solving a problem that you're facing at work or in your life or whatever.

Those things need space and a stillness to come up. It's like bubbles rising in a liquid — bubbles in your beer. If your life is like a blender set on full whiz the bubble might start, it might be somewhere deep down inside you but it gets scattered into a billion bits on the way up through the turmoil and tumult going on in your life. And you need to give yourself that space. Take a break. Take walks. It could be organized and disciplined like meditation, but it doesn't have to be. Give yourself a vacation. Take a day and do nothing.

And I think a lot of us get so hooked on input and we've got to have the TV on, we've got to have the radio on when we're in the car. Turn the radio off. Drive somewhere for two hours. Force yourself to just deal with the stillness the zoning out of the road noise. See what comes up. Don't put in a book on tape. Don't turn on the TV to see what inane stuff you might fill your mind with. Be okay with sitting there with nothing going on for a while and see what comes up. I think that is a great way to increase your own creativity.

And sort of a corollary to that thought there is a difference between things that are urgent in your life and things that are important. Sometimes they are the same, but often times they are not.

People might be bugging you to do something that is really not very important in your life, but nobody is going to bug you to write your own songs to say what you have to say in this world or to do what you have to do, whether it's songwriting or something else. It's going to be up to you to make time to do that, to carve out the time, to figure out what that is if you haven't figured out yet and then to carve out the time to do it.

So I encourage you to take that time. Find time to be still; find time to figure out what it is you need to do in this world and then take the time to do it.

©2007 Don Richmond. All rights reserved.

Don RichmondDon Richmond is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumental performer, having played professionally for over thirty years. More