I view the creative process as being connected to an intangible and out of body stream of consciousness. I feel like I gain access to this stream when I put myself in a position to open up, usually by having few daily commitments and plenty of free time. I have become better at this over the years, mostly because I am aware of the process and respect the process. Often I will travel to “off the grid” locations around the world to achieve my detachment. To give a figurative analogy, it sort of feels like I am sitting under an attic door. You know the ones that are on the ceiling and open downward? Well if I sit still long enough and just stare out and think about as little as possible then the attic door opens up for a crack… shining some sort of inspiration down on me momentarily. I will then quickly fumble with a guitar or piano or piece of paper and try to record what was handed to me in a panic. I know that I only have a few moments to get it down because like memory of a dream… it fades and extinguishes very fast. There have been a few times while working on a new record where I feel like the door opened and then got stuck for a couple minutes and I was able to get an entire song out. Basically like it was handed to me and I was simply acting as its secretary. These are the best moments because although it feels less like my work, I feel like I was given a wonderful gift.
If you have a half hour, I feel like John Cleese delivers the most accurate guidebook to the process in this speech on the subject.