In The Practice of Practice, I recommend learning the tumbao and clave patterns on conga, or learning any rhythm instrument. Here’s a lesson on playing the guiro, from Bobby Sanabria. He teaches not only how to play it, but where the patterns go in the clave pattern.
Writers, musicians, visual artists, or any other person who relies on creativity for their well-being–whether spiritual, mental, or monetary–knows that ideas like inspiration, talent, or some other idea that makes us believe that things should be “easy,” are often more hindrance than help. It’s work. And that’s not a bad thing.
What’s great about hearing Jack White speak about his own process is learning about the constraints he puts on himself. There is also this gem about why constraints are so important, and how surfeit can suck the juice out of creativity: