April 16, 2024

Stuck in a Creative Rut? Take Rick Rubin’s Advice & Do the Opposite.

{*Did you know you can write on Elephant? Here’s how—big changes: How to Write & Make Money or at least Be of Benefit on Elephant. ~ Waylon}

If you thrive on creativity and haven’t yet delved into music producer Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act, consider this your friendly nudge to make a beeline for the nearest bookstore.

Rubin‘s book is an absolute treasure trove, but one concept in particular has been living in my noggin rent-free: the notion of self-imposed rules when creating.

Rubin encourages us to break free from self-imposed constraints and explore new creative territories. His specific example in the book is that of a sculptor striving to craft a physical object. Rubin prompts us to contemplate creating something digitally or conceptually, devoid of a tangible presence.

This notion deeply resonated with me as a poet by nature—where my true passion lies. Reflecting on why I write poetry, I realized that my ultimate goal is to produce work that is profound, meaningful, and introspective.

But one thing about me is I’m going to do what Rick Rubin says, so I set out to do the opposite.

I set out to craft a poem devoid of deliberate meaning, and I had a blast. It is the most fun I’ve had writing in a long time. No pressure, no self-critique—just pure creative freedom.

When I finished, I wasn’t sweating over whether it was “good enough.” I was celebrating in the whimsy of my poem, excited to have a new tool in my writer’s toolbelt.

Creativity and exploration are sisters. And we need to break free from the constraints of convention in order to let our imagination soar. Creativity is about embracing the unknown and finding beauty in the unexpected. Whether you’re a painter, musician, writer, or any kind of artist, consider Rubin’s advice if you ever get stuck in a creative rut.

Channel your inner middle schooler and pretend it’s the opposite.

I leave you with my poem. I certainly hope you enjoy it—but if you don’t, that’s okay, because it was for me (and for you Rick Rubin—you rock!).

I dreamt I was an octopus,
Who did not live in sea.
But rather in the clouds above,
Is where I felt most free.

First to approach was Falcon,
Who gifted me a worm.
He thought I’d like to try his lunch,
To which I did confirm.

Then flew by Kingfisher,
And I was shocked to find,
The Royal bird aquatic,
Was both beautiful and kind.

Soon came Crow and Blue Jay,
Who joined our happy cloud.
We hosted a tea party,
Any bird would be allowed.

I hoped I’d meet the Eagle,
That I swore far off I’d spied.
Blue Jay told me it could not be,
For his ego and his pride.

I told her not to worry,
That we have one of those too.
You mustn’t love sea turtle,
When he surely won’t love you.

She leaned her wing into me,
And I thought I’d steal a kiss.
But even sky-bound octopi,
Can sometimes shoot and miss.

When I awoke that morning,
Removed from sea or sky,
I reflected on the journey,
When an octopus could fly.

I knew it not a prospect,
But how funny it would be,
I daydream of a thousand lives,
And spend my own, a tree.


Rick Rubin on how to unlock your creativity:


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