Tunde Abebimpe

Tunde Abebimpe

Lizzy Goodman’s “Meet Me in the Bathroom” is such a raucous oral history of New York’s indie rock scene that readers’ ears are in danger of ringing while reading. It’s vivid and grimy enough to make you feel like you’ve seen The Strokes strut through a late-night set, or heard Karen O blast paint off the walls with her howl.

It’s also a surprising place to bump into a helpful reminder for writers … but one is offered all the same by Tunde Adebimpe, lead singer of TV on the Radio.

He says, “Failure is the best. After you fail, you’re free.”

The comment from the eclectic frontman comes while another musician — Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos — discusses the freedom he felt after his initial band was dropped by its label. Kapranos says, “I was doing all the stuff with Franz Ferdinand with absolutely no idea, in my head or anybody else’s, that we were going to do this to make money to pay our rent.”

The idea is clear: Groundbreaking work arrives stripped of expectations; it’s summoned when the creator feels free.

Considering there’s rent to pay and dwindling jobs to hold down, journalists may not want to fail their way to greater creativity, but they can still chase the freedom Adebimpe invokes.  With the help of fellow journalists and online resources, it’s possible to take deliberate steps toward creativity … even if you only have a handful of minutes each day to do so.

You can take steps to find your authentic voice.

You can ponder surprising story forms.

You can discover the story only you can write.

You may not be a rock star, but as a couple of them can remind you, if you feel free enough, you can still find your own unique voice.

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