The dichotomy between self-discipline and creativity.

Close-up detail of piano keyboard and beautiful flower in monochrome look, more than dreamers, inspiration, creativity, self-discipline

It seems weird, to place structure upon creativity, to draw a box around it and say “stay within these lines!”

But what if the analogy is more about just providing a box in which to create, rather than having no box at all?

What if the structure given is merely an allotment of time so that creativity can occur?

Structure and self-discipline don’t have to been what kills creativity. It shouldn’t be saying, “do it JUST like this.” Rather Self-Discipline should be showing up in the creative world saying, “here’s an opportunity for you to practice. Everyday. A moment in time for you to exist; even flourish.”

The jazz piano is a great example. Jazz itself is meant to be felt, not read off of a sheet; the player allowing both rhythm and melodies to flow from their extremities and out into a glorious tune from the soul.

But if this jazz player hasn’t practiced frequently, what notes and tones to select would not exist in his vast repertoire. If he didn’t spend time practicing scales, he wouldn’t know what was going to feel right if he played it next. Rather, it could just be a lot of wrong notes and sound absolutely terrible and not jazz at all.

The structure of self-discipline, even in the creative world is necessary.

If I am a writer (which I consider myself to be), I should be writing, regardless of whether I am feeling inspired or not. Not everything I write will be a masterpiece. Not even close, if I’m completely honest. Additionally, nothing will be of excellence if I haven’t invested my time enough into discovering my voice.

Self-discipline should merely be the subtle act of allowing the opportunity for creative freedom to exist. It should not suffocate. It should not demand. It should serve.

It’s necessary for both to coexist.

How do you balance the two?