“Its important to keep the eccentric spirit alive, because when that goes, the work will go.” Nicolas Cage (from The Painter’s Keys)
Do all creative people have eccentricities that stimulate the creative juices? Some artists have elaborate routines they must go through before they can create. To others it may be as simple as always starting a painting with a particular brush, or drawing with a particular pencil. Some writers have the computer in a particular location or must always have a particular beverage at hand. The list could go on and on. Is this simple eccentricity or is it something more?
The website 99u.com has two recent articles (here and here) on the creative process and mundane routines. According to writer and professional creative coach, Mark McGuiness, these mundane routines are what actually may be the trigger for the creative juices to start flowing. McGuiness, a trained hypnotist, believes the routines artists go through before beginning work may be setting up what he calls a hypnotic trigger. The more often the artist performs the routine the more intense the trigger becomes. The articles give a number of examples from famous creative people, like Truman Capote and Ingmar Bergman.
Many people think of artistic types as just a little bit crazy likely because of a lack of understanding of the process of creativity. All those sly little remarks about artists and their eccentricities are obviously from people not “in the know.” Perhaps they should be enlightened. Better yet, keep it a secret. It adds to the idea of the artist’s mystique. Who doesn’t want a bit of the mystique hanging around? So crank up those eccentricities. The work just may depend on it.