Spike Lee is a pretty creative guy. I’ve seen a few of his films and enjoyed them. He has a new movie coming out called Red Hook Summer, that sounds pretty intriguing. As both a director and writer, Spike has to deal with many of the same issues we do on the courting-the-muse front. In September’s O magazine, he offers some advice I found helpful, so I wanted to share it with you:
Be open and attentive: Spike has talked to many talented artists, from Stevie Wonder to Miles Davis, and he says they all say the same thing: You never know when the muse will come calling. Inspiration can strike at any time and come from anywhere.
As Spike recalls: “I knew I’d make a movie called Do the Right Thing before I even knew what it would be about. Based on that title, I wrote a script on loose-leaf paper for 12 days straight.” Now that’s inspiration! The message: stay alert and expectant. And remember: all it takes is one germ of an idea to get you rolling.
Study the masters: Mike Tyson is a “boxing historian” observes Spike. Tyson has watched “thousands of hours of fights” with the goal of improving his game. We need to do the same. To master our craft, we need to learn from the masters: the ones who’ve written timeless, universal stories that still ring true.
Stay positive: When you doubt yourself, you’re courting failure. As Spike puts it: “Do you think when Derek Jeter strikes out, he says, ‘I’m terrible, I should retire,’? No, he says, ‘I’m going to knock it out of the park tomorrow.’ If something throws me for a loop. I shake it off and keep stepping.”
Stay strong: “I’ve got a lot to do before I kick it,” says Spike. We all have a lot we want to accomplish. It takes stamina to do the work we do and we need all the help we can get. Acupuncture, exercise, meditation — find and use any tools available to help you handle stress and feel better physically. And write on!