Keep it light and keep it moving

I post about creativity every weekday on my Instagram page. These posts focus on practical writing tips, but are grounded in how we make space for writing, how we need to give ourselves permission to create and to fail in the process.

Above all, I believe that making art needs to feel possible, which is why my medium of delivery is so simple: a short piece of advice scrawled on a Post-It note.

I’m not above giving myself my own advice. The wall over my desk is littered with Post-It notes. The most prominent one captures a line from Radiohead’s song “Present Tense,” which appears on their 2016 album, A Moon Shaped Pool. Thom Yorke sings:

Keep it light and keep it moving

My daily work is fast paced and I need to keep moving from one edit to the other, yes. But I use the line as a reminder to lower the stakes for myself, to not ruminate on conversations or emails that might have rubbed me the wrong way, to not look for enemies when I’m surrounded by friends. I don’t buy into the myth of the tortured artist (or tortured editor or tortured insurance salesman or…take your pick). “Keep it light” is the lesson I’ve taken from years of making things more complicated than they need to be.

Check out this stripped-down version of the song, featuring Jonny Greenwood, Thom Yorke, and a CR-78 drum machine.

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