Learning from Creative People – Bob Dylan

I have been making a concerted effort of late to spend at least an hour a day reading books on creativity and/or interviews with creative people (mainly writers, artists and musicians); to understand what inspires them, how they work, where they work, and how they tap into their creativity to access the ideas/inspiration which allows them to write with such beauty and intensity.

A hefty tome that sits on my desk at present is “Song Writers on Song Writing”, the expanded 4th edition by Paul Zollo.


It covers every genre of music form blues to pop and rock, interviews with 62 musicians/song writers. What is so interesting and inspiring for me, when reading the interviews is to discover that not all the writers just grab the lyrics from the air, some of them really anguish over them. Leonard Cohen took 3 years to write Hallelujah!

I have spent the last week, reading the Bob Dylan interview over and over again; I am a huge Dylan fan, have almost his entire song collection on vinyl and mp3, plus all his song lyric sheets and numerous biographies. For me he is a musical genius and one of our greatest living poets. Van Morrison agrees with me re him being our greatest poet đŸ™‚

His comments on the environment that one needs to be creative ties in with what I read in the War of Art; one needs a peaceful, invigorating and stimulating environment to write. Although he does go on to say:

“Some songs are better written in peace and quiet and delivered in turmoil. Others are best written in turmoil and delivered in a peaceful, quiet way.”

He also says that he does not consider himself a professional song writer, and he clarifies this by saying it has always been more con-fessional that pro-confessional. That got me thinking about my writing, and what aspect/perspective am I writing from, i.e. inward or outward looking, and just how naked does one want/need to be, how close to ones “soul” must we dig, when one is writing?

Dylan refers often to how songs “come to him”, which brings me full circle to the muse/genius train of thought. Even if that is the case though you need to be receptive to the “arrival” of the inspiration. This is an area of my creativity that intrigues me, especially as I am science, logic and process driven. Despite this I too am finding ideas coming to me at strange times of the day and night.

Well that’s enough of my musings today, but I will be back with more ramblings and thoughts on making the entrance hall welcome for the muse/genius to arrive, and spoil me with his/her thoughts/dreams/visions.

Eternity is in love with the creations of time – William Blake

2 thoughts on “Learning from Creative People – Bob Dylan

  1. Pingback: On the Celebration of Creativity | mikesnexus

  2. Pingback: My Top 10 Fav Bob Dylan Songs | mikesnexus

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