I love this piece about Leonard Cohen (painstakingly slow writer of songs) and Bob Dylan (fast writer).
I’m certainly more a Dylan than a Cohen. If I can’t nail something down quickly, I’m far more likely to drop it than to spend years (or even months) getting it right.
When I started thinking about why I work this way, I recalled that I often say I do my best work when I’m angry.
This is true, but there are variations on the anger that drives me to create things. Often, I’m most motivated by a crushing disappointment that quickly turns into anger over something or another that was done poorly – so I do it better.
But though I often create great work out of anger or frustration, I also create great work out of a kind of hysterical mania. Instead of being driven by an overwhelming negativity, I’ll be driven by an overwhelming need to make something that simply has to exist in the world right this very moment. Though not an angry experience by any stretch, the urgency of it is not unlike the urgency I feel when anger pushes me to lash out.
In any case, I am certainly not a broody creator. I don’t strive for anything I make to be perfect, which is why, I think, I’m far more inclined toward quick-and-dirty. If I overthink anything at all, it’s extremely likely it’ll end up terrible.
I’d never thought about the relationship between my speed of work and the emotions that drive me to make it. I’m glad I came across this piece that led me to the connection.
So, what about you? Are you more a Cohen or a Dylan?