Tag Archives | creative

You’re a Creative Person, Right?

Crayons-crayola-artsupplies-867610-hCreative vs. Non-Creative People

In which I attempt to answer the question, is there such a thing as a non-creative person?

Years ago, when I was a fledgling writer still getting used to becoming enraptured in the throes of the creative process, I developed a theory:

The world was divided into creative and non-creative people.

Creative people understood when I said I was in the middle of a chapter and couldn't go to a movie with them (or more likely, watch their child–since I wrote at home, I was that Mom who everyone dumped their kids on).

Non-creative people didn't.

Creative people got it when I talked about getting up early to write.  Non-creative people just kvetched about hitting the snooze button.

And just like morning people and night owls will never agree on the best schedule for the day, so, too, creative and non-creative people will never see eye to eye.

That is what I used to think.

But then I got schooled.

Schooled in the idea that all of us, every single one, is a creative being.  Moreover, our purpose in life, the reason we were put here, is to be creative.  Creativity for me means writing (okay, and knitting, too).  But for you it might mean gardening. Or sewing. Or lawn mowing.  Or playing the ukulele.  Or building furniture. I remember once, years ago, having gum surgery and realizing that for my dentist, working on teeth was a creative process.

Creativity is that thing that you do and you don't know time has passed.  It is that thing you do when you are totally present without having to bring yourself back to the moment a million times because you are jus there–totally wrapped up in it. It is that thing you do that makes you feel most alive–and afterwards in love with all the world.

And all of us have that creative spark within us.  And if we heed it, we'll be happier people.  And thus, so will the rest of the world.

I know I'm happier–by five thousand country miles–when I'm honoring that creative spark within. When I'm making the time, and using the energy, to write, to knit, to garden.  Because the truth is, creativity does take energy.  It is harder to sit at your computer and throw words at the page than it is to surf the internet and read news and celebrity stories because when you're being creative, your brain has to work.  It is harder to pick up the knitting rather than just stare at the TV (I speak for myself here) because your fingers have to move.

Creative work requires energy, for sure.  But the good news is that after you've expended that energy you'll feel better than you could ever imagine.  You'll be exhilarated–and maybe exhausted at the same time.  But it will be a good exhaustion, the kind that comes when you've put everything you've got in that moment out on the page, or the canvas, or the garden bed, or into the strings of your guitar, or however you best like to express yourself.

And I suspect that those among us who claim to be not creative have simply not expended the time or energy to figure out where their creativity lies within.  And if they did, they'd experience the absolute joy of letting it flow out.

So, yeah, don't tell me that you're not creative–because I know you are.  I'm likely preaching to the choir here, but all of us can stand a reminder of this now and then, don't you think?

Did you ever have a time when you thought you weren't creative? Leave a comment and let's discuss.

Photo by laffy4K.

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Two Aspects of Story Writing

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Hilda?

Here, for your consideration, two aspects of storytelling.

1. Parsing the story.  This is, of course, most often the purview of the rough draft, or shitty first draft, or discovery draft, or whatever you want to call it.  Hilda would do.  (I think I'll start giving my drafts names.  Why not?) Although it must be said that story often reveals itself more fully on the second, third, or tenth drafts, too.

The point is that you have to figure out the story for yourself.  Yeah, you get a brilliant idea for a novel and set out writing it, but honestly?  There's a crap-ton of stuff that goes into a novel.  A lot has to happen.  Like, a lot lot.  And you have to uncover all this stuff, because it doesn't come downloaded with the idea.  (Or maybe it does for you.  If so, please email me.  I want to steal all your secrets.)  Which is why you launch in and write a rough draft, whether you are a plotter or a pantser.

And then when you are done with that, there's:

2. Deciding the best way to tell the story.  Your story might have come out in a strict chronology, but when you look at it, that's not the best way to build suspense.  (And all stories, not just mysteries and thrillers, need suspense.)  Or maybe it came to you in fragments and now you need to order them.   It is at this stage that you need to take a big, deep breath and figure out how to present the story.  Maybe the last chapter should come first, or vice-versa.  Maybe the character you thought should tell the story needs to be replaced with someone else.  Maybe you need to switch from first to third.  Who knows?  Only you, the author. Just don't make the mistake of assuming that the way the story came out of your brain is the only way it can be told.  

And also, please don't make the mistake of confusing these two aspects.  They each have their time, okay?  When you're writing first draft, your main job is to get the story down on paper. After you have finished a full and complete draft, beginning to end, you can make decisions about how best to present it.

Which is your favorite aspect of story writing?

Photo by ConceptJunkie.

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Creation and Implementation: Two Distinct Stages of the Process

Sometimes you gotta spend most of your time writing, and some times you gotta spend most of your time doing all the stuff that surrounds it.  This is something all creatives (do we like calling us that? I can't decide) struggle with at times.  And I believe if you can master the art of separating the two, you'll have a lot more success.   Desi-question-mark-817928-l

Or at least be happier.

I'm talking about the acts of creation and implementation.  

They are two distinct stages of the creative process, and need to be treated as such.  And yet, we–myself included–tend to muck them up and mix them up and try to do them at the same time and that just doesn't work.

Creation.  I think of creation as anything related to the actual act of putting words on the page, like:

  • Writing
  • Writing exercises
  • Editing
  • Journaling
  • Brainstorming

Implementation is anything related to the act of getting your work out in the world, such as:

  • Researching publication
  • Querying agents or editors
  • Proof-reading
  • Formatting a manuscript for publication
  • Promotion and author platform

You may not even realize you are mixing up the two.  You might find yourself spending long hours on researching potential agents before your novel is completed, for instance, or learning everything there is to know about self-publishing before you've written a single word.  Or you might find yourself adding words to a short story even after you've decreed it finished and are in the process of sending it out.

The thing is, you need to make time for each aspect. At different stages, one will take precedence over the other.  When you've polished your novel, for instance, and are ready for it to take the world by storm, you'll either begin that agent search or start the self-publishing process, and you'll likely spend more time doing this than actual writing.  Or when first you begin a blog, you'll spend a lot of time setting it up and not quite so much writing blog posts.

Ultimately, however, if you're not spending most of your time in creation, then you're not going to have anything worth implementing.  I know this is obvious, but in our crazy social media, information-obsessed world, its easy to convince yourself that its more important to write a Facebook post than get a few more hundred words ranked up on the novel.

So here's my simple rule:

Creation, first, implementation second.

If you live by it, you'll be a happy creative.

Discussion?  How do you get sidelined in the creation versus implementation teeter-totter? 

 

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