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Strummer and Wildish

Two related thoughts hit me in a flurry today.

I read a post by Billy Oppenheimer on creativity and creative output and where he mentioned Strummer's Law:

No inputs, no output

You've got to fill your well. Bring information in. Ruminate. Dream. Walk around taking in the wonder of nature and humanity. Fill yourself up so you can let the good stuff out and into your work.

Today was a departure from my normal inputs. We have family over visiting so my routines have been disrupted. But I am still filling up with new inputs, from these oft neglected familial sources.

And I have already misplaced the second quote. My systems are poor. But I remember it was attributed to Oscar Wilde and the gist was that if you're only creating for work, and aren't creating for fun, or for yourself, then you aren't making real art.

The point that I took away is that the output in Strummer's Law is first and foremost for yourself. You make things because they please you. That's the point. That's why you gather all those inputs, is to please yourself with what you create.

I think that's how you make great things that might also be useful to others. But it's gotta please you first; if not, then it won't please anyone.

This actually happened to me this week. I was struggling with the tagline for my new project. It was too self-important, too grandiose, too...blech. So I went for a walk. I hummed a bit. I had a shower. And I mumbled a line that made me laugh. I jumped fast towards a pen to write it down before I could forget it (unlike the quote above!)

At supper I told Cindy the line. It made her smile. And today my collaborator had a chuckle too. We have the tagline.

But nothing would have worked without two things -- the walk and the shower (inputs) and the fact that I laughed when I first heard the line come out of my mouth.

Get inputs. Please yourself. And have a pen and paper handy. Repeat. Stop to eat from time to time.