I’m currently listening to Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It’s an essential work on creativity. Bringing together tons of examples and studies to draw a more clear picture on how creativity works, and how we may better access it. One of the story’s he tells in the book is about Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan, being burned out on music and writing and the whole thing, left the music industry to be alone in a cabin in upstate New York. He didn’t even bring his guitar. After telling his manager that he was done with music and was going to start working on a novel, Dylan, in his loneliness, became overwhelmed with a feeling that he had something to say. So he grabbed notebook and wrote. For hours he wrote. And 20 pages later, the song he had written was: Like A Rolling Stone. He then returned to the music scene and blew peoples minds with his new work.
“I don’t know where my songs come from. It’s like a ghost is writing a song. It gives you the song and it goes away. You don’t know what it means.”- Bob Dylan
Sometimes, that moment of creative insight, that lightening in a bottle, comes so fast we miss it. Or worse, we don’t trust it. Sometimes it’s like a ghost is leading you to an idea and you don’t know where the idea is going to take you.
Maybe you don’t always need to know?
Maybe, as Lehrer and Bob Dylan suggest, you just have to trust the ghost.
I love this idea of “the ghost.” How would you describe that moment of creative insight for you?