Lessons on Creativity from Burt Bacharach
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Last night I went to see Burt Bacharach be interviewed by one his ex-wives (brave!), Carol Bayer Sager, in promotion of his new memoir. Turns out song writing and writing writing have quite a bit in common. One of my favorite anecdotes -- which can be generalized to any creative pursuit -- was how Burt self-sabotaged an album by obsessively tinkering over it in the futile pursuit of perfection. Consequently, the album was released way too late, missing a promo window tie-in with a TV show and costing himself and his record company a lot of money in the process. Mr. B., a horse racing enthusiast, compared his misstep to having a prized racehorse you keep safe in the stable. "As long as you don't let it race, it can't lose." 

Every writer, including me, is familiar with this "keeping it in the stable" mentality.  It's a form of self-protection, and it happens at all stages in the process, from sharing your work with a writing group to posting a blog to publishing a book. Next time it happens to you, take comfort in the fact that even the man who wrote "Say A Little Prayer", "Close to You," Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" (I could go on), made the same mistake. Then, get your horse and lead it to the starting gate.

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