Perhaps you have heard the phrase "Creativity is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration". The implication being you shouldn't sit around waiting to create, you need to work at it and be determined to both start and finish something.
With my project "Sweeping the Noise Floor" it's necessary to focus to complete tracks and albums (let alone live shows which are a lot of work) but I really couldn't define the actual percentages. This is because almost all my tracks come out of a place where I don't have a specific sound or goal in mind at the onset. I assemble what tools I want to use and then start slowly patching and building until something comes into focus. Once the initial inspirational sound is there I process to trying to mix levels, parts, etc live in a linear fashion to see what I can do with what I've found. If I'm still pleased with what's happening I progress to recording tracks live and then dumping and editing them on the computer doing the panning, levels, and perhaps adding more effects, fades, etc.
If this sounds very fatalistic that's because, for this project at least, I try to set up an environment where things will fall into place. While it's obvious nothing would happen if I didn't put the effort in, I approach the instruments (and especially the modular synths) as something organic and acting a bit on their own. While I set certain wheels in motion it's also true I am constantly both pushing forward and sitting back at the same time. Does that count as "perspiration"? I honestly don't know.
The more quantifiable parts of the track (working on the parts, mix, final master) are more rote and similar from any other track by the time I get to those stages. But that initial Something, that Je ne c'est quoi that starts the ball rolling? I would certainly give that a lot more than 1% credit - whereever it comes from.
I didn't intend to create anything today. Parts of this track go back 3-4 years while the majority of it was composed and recorded all at once in less than an hour after my morning coffee. It's what I like to call a "surprise" in that I wasn't expecting to come up with anything and when I did I just went with the flow.
Perhaps I'll do a "part 2" to this post where I'll describe the patch and how I came up with this ditty. (By all means please comment or email if you'd find that interesting and/or helpful!) But for now I'll just let the music do the talking.
Close your eyes, relax, and float on.