One of the most interesting writer-composers around is Dr. Robert McClure of Soochow University. Here he talks about the creative process in a new lecture series he’s launched. An excerpt of what he has to say:
Every composer faces the same crippling object at the beginning of a new work; the blank page. Some composers look to past musical models for inspiration. Some rely on pre-formed musical systems or tools such as serialism, minimalism, or chance methods to put notes onto the page. Some composers rely on pure intuition and allow their brain, heart, soul, and being to flow effortlessly onto the page. What does a composer do if these options do not promote new ideas, but rather stifle creativity further? What is to be done if purely musical ideas seem stale? What happens if the composer is stuck in a harmonic rut and no system is able to dig him/her out? What is a composer to do when the process of composing becomes an hour or two a day (in a good week) filled with dread rather than excitement? The answer in my work was to look outside of music to ideas, concepts, and structures that reinvigorated my musical imagination by suggesting fresh approaches that resisted the time-tested, but ultimately uninspired, methods of composing in my musical toolkit.
If you are interested at all in the creative process, or have faced some of the issues Dr. McClure talks about here, then you certainly should listen to the lecture that is on his page, because he comes up with some very interesting and creative solutions to this time-honored problem.