When I’ve just seen a great movie, listened to a top new album or viewed an exhibition, I revel in the goshness of others’ imaginations and talents. Sometimes I have a surge of creativity and want to sit down and let ideas snap, crackle and pop out of me.
Insights into how other people tackle their art – and the the way their minds work – can also be inspiring and encouraging. For instance, when I hear that people who have achieved sustained success still experience doubts about their abilities, that is very reassuring.
Here’s a quote from Coldplay frontman Chris Martin in the doco Viva Coldplay: “I’m in a constant turmoil. I never quite know if we are good or we are bad because whatever you do someone likes it and someone doesn’t. That’s why you just have to keep playing every day, keep writing the lists (of new songs) and keep playing.”
As a novice author, I continually doubt myself so it’s amazing to hear someone who has had global success admit to similar fears and acknowledge the need to press harder.
And criticism? Anyone who dares to take their work public has to steel themselves for negative reviews.
Martin said of Coldplay: “About three years ago we got really taken to pieces by the New York Times which a lot of our friends were really nervous about mentioning. In fact it turned out to be most constructive. I read it and I was like OK, I don’t agree with that bit but I do agree my lyrics are not good enough so I am going to work a bit harder at that. Eventually it becomes quite useful.”
All four band members all came across as humble and self-effacing in this documentary. Indeed, Martin told a story where his father out for dinner and mentioned, “one of my sons is a banker and the other is an international rockstar … and the person responded, ‘Really? Which bank?’ That’s the sort of place I come from.”
I’m galaxies away from being a rockstar but it’s brilliant when I hear from someone who has read one of my books and enjoyed it. Imagine how it must feel to have a stadium full of fans singing one of your songs.
Martin said: “It makes me laugh some times that things you have written in the height of loneliness, in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep, that suddenly 20,000 people are singing it with you. It’s such a funny transition… It could not have started in a more individual place but when it finishes up it’s such a collective atmosphere. That really makes me … That’s pure happiness.”
I wonder if JK Rowling feels like that?