Stuck in a rut? Uninspired? Demotivated? Then read one of the most rewarding books this year ‘Creative Quest’ by four-time Grammy Award-winning musician and co-founder of The Roots, designer, producer, DJ, writer and entrepreneur Questlove (is there anything this guy can’t do?). In his new book, he explores creativity with enlightening nuggets of information about his own life, background and personal quest for creativity. He shares creative tips and philosophies from people he has met and life journeys he has travelled. With exercises at the end of each chapter such as micro-meditation, ‘un-block party’ to enable you to think of new ideas, and rewriting reviews of your work you are even more absorbed in the book and able to get in touch with yourself and your creativity.
Questlove explores various topics within what it means to be creative such as how do we define creativity? How to go about finding a mentor, maintaining a creative network (much easier to do in this day and age with easy access to social media) and how to cope with balance, success, rejection, and those who are critical of your work.
There are plenty of anecdotes so if you want to know why D’Angelo being late to a show and being forced to micro-meditate saved the day, about Questlove’s ‘Twin Peaks’ themed dinner with David Lynch or why he described Childish Gambino’s ‘Awaken, My Love!” as “the train” then read this book.
How creativity is “a privilege and a blessing, but it’s also at times a burden.” Coming up with new ideas and how D’Angelo conquered that problem. Something I personally have never thought about “copying, over covering, is always a valuable exercise.” I write for a living and even though the music I write about is inspiring it can be tough to come up with new and interesting ways to relay that to the reader. This exercise gets you going and restarts your brain encouraging you to look at how things are put together.
Questlove explores the modern world of technology and how distracting it is. Think about it. Can you just sit and watch a movie any more without checking your phone for texts, emails, your Instagram feed? Questlove agrees this is consequential. He writes, “creative work requires your time and effort”. “The very same tools that let you work efficiently – word processing, Wikipedia – are connected to other tools that rob you of efficiency and focus. They don’t destroy your will to live, but they do destroy your ability to live in the moment.”
Read about Artists who are Type A: Achievers (Jay-Z) and Type B: Creatives, why the scene in Mary Poppins when the kids go inside the chalk drawings and have a magical experience inspired Questlove, and David Bowie’s observations on creativity, that it’s “one of the few human endeavours where you can crash your airplane and walk away from it.”
So to quote Questlove, “creativity is a lifelong endeavour. Practice may or may not be perfect, which is why you should never stop practising.”
So read ‘Creative Quest’ and take heed of Questlove’s advice. You will be creating your next masterpiece in no time.
You can order Questlove’s ‘Creative Quest’ here.