Last week, I was helping a client search for agents to whom she could submit her book proposal. (Fun times.) One of the titles we came across in the process is a book called Your Creative Type. Both of us allowed as how it sounded like a fun book to read. I added that I had no idea what my creative type might be, but I was pretty sure it was something to do with being wild and free. (That undisciplined crazy woman flinging words at the page, sometimes literally, in the corner? The one who has a million projects going at once, including some random art and craft things? That’s me.)
Okay, so I jest, sort of, but the premise of the book is valid. It is that we each have a specific creative type and knowing it can help you in your daily creative efforts. Some people are motivated by thoughts of fame and fortune, some by the idea they want to change the world. Others, (me, apparently—there’s a test you can take on the site) just want to express the deeply profound thoughts inside them. Release the emotions, and all that.
The book looks like it offers some good points, and I may put it on hold at the library, so I can maintain my weight lifting exercises hoisting the huge stacks of books I bring home and never have time to read. I’m all for anything that will help us be more creative—write more often and with more freedom.
But what I am not for is books and theories that try to harness creativity. That quantify and categorize it. That tell you it can only exist under certain circumstances. Reading anything along those lines brings out my rebel faster than you can say, “I’ll prove you wrong.”
And that rebellious streak is also why I get so angry at writing experts who tell you exactly how to approach your writing. That you have to have an incredibly detailed outline, noting every pillar of the story, or, conversely, that you’re stupid if you waste time doing that and you should just plunge in. A human could go nuts trying to follow all the advice out there.
Including, ahem, mine. When I first started writing about writing and creativity ten years ago I tried really hard to hand down authoritative opinions about how you should do things. But I soon gave up. (Wild and free, remember?) Because I’ve learned, over years of working with writers, that if I try to impose a certain way of doing things on someone who is not comfortable with it, they’ll shut down. And that doesn’t serve anybody.
So it really is worth your time to learn what works for you. All of us so-called experts can present you with ideas, tips, and thoughts about what might be helpful. But you’ll do better, and be happier I will bet, if you figure out what works for you and ditch the rest.
And now I must go rustle about through my stacks of projects and decide which to work on next.
Tell me about your creative type?
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