There’s a name for this experience, and it’s so common that a book has even been written about it.
The book is called The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler.
Kotler’s premise is that there is a ‘flow’ to creativity — an altered mindset that fuels creative endeavours.
You, no doubt, don’t need me to tell you this. I’m sure you have experienced this ‘flow’ for yourself.
It’s this ‘flow’ that, quite simply, drives your musical, creative life.
You get high; you get low
But Kotler also tells us that after any creative process has reached its end there is another process that is not so rosy — it’s a time when we question ourselves and withdraw from our work.
This book is not theory; it’s based on scientific study.
As it happens, it’s a very common feeling for people who create. In short, we get high when we create; and we get low after the fact.
I tell you this not because I want you to avoid getting the up-down feeling that comes from finishing a piece of music. That’s too much to hope for.
No, I tell you because if you KNOW that what you feel is normal — and very real — then you will start noticing it in yourself the next time it happens.
Expect it … then move on
And when it does happen, you will be mindful.
You will be able to say to yourself, ‘Hey, I feel depressed about my art. I don’t like it anymore, and I wish I hadn’t spent two months of my life working on it … And now I know why.’
And then you can pick yourself up, and move on. Because creativity is a cycle of ups and downs. That’s what the science tells us.
Feeling down about your music is as natural as feeling euphoric about your music. It’s just the cycle of creativity.
So, don’t get too depressed the next time the euphoria has left you and you feel that all you have left is ‘this lousy tune’.
Instead, take a deep breath and tell yourself, ‘This is normal. It will pass.’
And in a few more weeks’ time, you’ll love that piece of music all over again.