Guest Post: The Road to Creativity

This week it's Patrick's turn.  Please welcome a guest post by my new friend and fellow creative, Patrick Ross, a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer who blogs at The Artist's Road and is on Twitter at @on_creativity.  He is working on a narrative nonfiction book chronicling his cross-country road trip.   Street_desert_mountain_271063_l

When it comes to ignoring the obvious, I'm a master. What is obvious to me now, and what I ignored for many years, is that I have an internal drive to create, and to express that creation through words. My awakening to this truth did not come easily, but it did come, after the metaphysical equivalent of massive and repeated blunt-force trauma to the head.

Let me step back a moment. For about a quarter-century I have been a professional writer. I'm proud of the writing I've produced, and pleased I've always managed to find folks willing to pay me for my prose. But very few of the words I've written over the years have found their way into what we would call "creative" works, whether fiction or nonfiction.

I was creative in pursuing stories as a journalist, but just-the-facts-ma'am in my prose. The think-tank papers and government filings I've authored have resulted from my creative brain being applied to research and problem-solving, but they certainly don't read like a Carl Hiaasen thriller. (Perhaps we'd all be more interested in public policy if government documents did read like a novel?)

Last summer I drove across the United States, a six-week trip through thirty-five states.  I interviewed more than forty creatives — writers, painters, songwriters, photographers, filmmakers, actors — and captured their stories on film. They opened their homes to me, and their hearts.

I began the trip as a journalist. I was there to tell their stories. But to my surprise, my interview subjects received me as a creative peer. They saw my journey as one of creative self-discovery. I told you I can be dense, but after countless hours of driving empty roads, reflecting on my conversations with those creatives, I came to realize they were right.

As it turns out, opening my mind to the obvious was the easy part. The hard part now is building a new life based on maximizing my creative being. I'm shifting my professional focus, remaining a professional writer but doing so full-time under my own shingle. I'm expanding my network of fellow creatives through Twitter and a blog. It's how I came to find the author of this delightful blog, my new friend Charlotte.

Now I'm working to make sure that I remain open to possibility, rather than closed to reality. It's a bit unnerving, expressing my creativity and thus exposing myself. But I take the plunge with joy in my heart.

So go read Patrick's blog, y'all.  He's got awesome videos with fascinating creative people on it.  By the way, the photo is by centralasm, from, you guessed it, Everystockphoto.

 

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13 Comments on "Guest Post: The Road to Creativity"

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Patrick Ross
Guest

Charlotte, thanks for this great opportunity! Oh, and I like that photo, it reminds me of a part of my drive through Utah. FYI, the photo I use as my banner across my blog is from the road trip. It was taken in Wyoming along I-80 somewhere west of Cheyenne. You can probably tell I took it from the car while driving, perhaps not too wise!

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Thanks for your great post, Patrick! And I was just looking at the photo on your blog yesterday and wondering where it was taken. I’ve been on I-80 near Cheyenne many times and now that you mention it, I can totally see it. Thanks again for the guest post.

Roy Burkhead
Guest

Hey Patrick:

Great post. So, when will the general public get to see your film from the road? Sounds interesting. I have your blog bookmarked, and I will visit from time to time.

Roy

Patrick Ross
Guest
Five-minute stand-alone films with the individual artists are on my YouTube channel — http://www.youtube.com/patrickrossfilms — I made them while on the road (uploading about 3-4 days after each interview) for the advocacy group I used to run. I have about 15x the footage I used and hope to make short theme-based films with multiple artists quoted (obstacles overcome, how they stay inspired, things like that). I’ve profiled 6 or 7 of them on my blog, most recently a Vancouver, Washington, artist on Monday. I tell a bit more about them than the video shows and then embed the video. I’ll… Read more »
Roy Burkhead
Guest

Thanks! I found them a few moments after I left the reply to your posting. 🙂

Melanie
Guest

Great post Charlotte and Patrick! Can’t wait to read the book…

Patrick Ross
Guest

Hi Melanie, I feel the same way, but of course I still have to write it! 🙂

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Patrick, it is such an awesome concept, I’m sure the book will be out soon!

J.D. Frost
Guest

Charlotte, I don’t want to want to turn the lights out on the party, but the highway in this photo looks suspiciously wide, straight, and easily accessible. This is the road to creativity?

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

J.D., You just gave me a good laugh, thanks. The creative part comes when you get to the mountains in the distance and you have to figure out how to get over them.

Jessica McCann
Guest

Great post,Patrick. Your journey of creative self-discovery is a very cool story, and I look foward to reading your book one day. Thanks for sharing this.

Jessica McCann
Author of the novel All Different Kinds of Free

Charlotte Dixon
Guest

Thanks for dropping by, Jessica. Be sure to check out Patrick’s blog, he’s got a ton of great interviews on there.

Patrick Ross
Guest

Hey Jessica, thanks for that feedback, and I’ll hold you to it on reading the book someday!

Charlotte, I’m a fan of Jessica’s, have included her in my Tweets of the Week before, and she has stopped by my blog at times, for which I’m very grateful!

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