Recovering from a creative high

I'm combing my obsidian vault for notes about an article about glazed and I keep finding all these little snippets I wanted to write blog articles about. Turns out I've got a garbage blog right here—every time I come across one of these blog nuggets, I'll flesh it out a bit and post it here. This one is from May 2022.

It’s hard to let go after a run of creative successes.

A creative success could be making a few good songs in a row or getting a few solid programming features out of the way. The important aspect here is that it must feel like having been in a state of flow and having found gratification in your output. The quality of the output itself is actually irrelevant.

Riding that wave can be challenging because creativity needs to be replenished. It is easy to think that the next attempt will be just as good, just as flow-y as the last couple. But that is rarely the case, and the expectation of feeling as good about it as I just did often leads to frustration. The better I felt about my previous work, the stronger the frustration tends to be.

It takes actual effort to dial it back, to recognize that there is something biological going on, that recovery is needed. When I am not able to let go (not easy), I try to interleave some rote, stupid, repetitive tasks that still make me feel mildly productive. When making music, this could be sorting my samples or making sure my backups work well; it could be upgrading my plugins or even just following a paint-by-numbers tutorial on youtube. It really helps if the task as such doesn't really call for judgment about the quality of the output.

When mojo-mnl is back, he'll sure be glad that recovery-mnl has taken the time to sort through all the junk, upgrade the plugins, learned a thing or two about new technology, and made sure the dropbox wasn't overflowing.

It's easy to forget that the final output rests not only on the shoulders of creative, inspired moments but also on the shoulders of grunt work.