Creativity & Free-Flow Writing
The June topic, creativity, fascinates me.
‘Creative’ is a complex and scary word to many people. It’s a word that often compels us to categorize and compare: “I’m creative” or “I’m not creative.”
We believe we have the creative gene or we don’t.
For years, even while earning a living as a writer, I never felt like a writer writer. I clarified to myself and others, “I write, but I’m not a creativewriter” (as in, I don’t write fiction and novels and screenplays – therefore, I’m not a realwriter.)
And yet, I fully own and acknowledge that I brought a TON of creative energy to my writing and editing positions at Scholastic.
It’s when I link creativity and art-making too tightly that I get tripped up.
When Kep and I were in our 20s and getting our master’s degrees in Chapel Hill, NC, we went to a Color Me Mine place for the heck of it. I selected a plate to paint. I remember feeling uncomfortable, not knowing “what” to paint. It was that blank canvas feeling – way too much freedom.
So, my practical, rational (and loud inner-critic mind) reached for a pencil and ruler, and painstakingly drew a geometric pattern of diamonds, which I EVER so carefully painted, staying in the lines of course, in an attempt to create something pleasing to look at.
Meanwhile, Kep let it rip, allowing color and form to be free and alive. He finished his plate in about 15 minutes.
He looked over at me, still drawing my meticulous template, and joked about my rigid approach, and that we’d be there forever.
I remember in that moment feeling confirmation that I was not a creative person. Not in the way I thought creativity should look anyway – free, wild, loose, and artsy.
I remember thinking about how differently we approached our blank plates, and how it mirrored how we approached life: Kep, more instinctual, bold, risk taking, acting from his gut. Me, more measured, careful, mental, detail oriented, safety-seeking.
It wasn’t until I began free-flow writing practice that I saw creativity, and my unique creative nature, in an entirely new way.
Today, I see little in my life that does not feel touched by my creative nature, from how I eat, sleep, dress, communicate, work, play…
And because I now link creativity a). with self-expression, and b). in a gazillion ways beyond art-making… it’s easier for me to let go of comparing my creative nature to others.
Here are a few quotes on creativity that help me relax and embrace my Creative Power:
“Creative expression is self-expression. Creativity is nothing more than an individual expression of your needs, desires and uniqueness.”
~Scott Barry Kaufman, NYU psychologist who researches creativity
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“Creativity must be seen in the work of the scientists as well as in that of the artist, in the thinker as well as in the aesthetician; and one must not rule out the extent to which it is present in captains of modern technology as well as in a mother's (or father's) normal relationship with her child.”
~Rollo May, The Courage to Create
In this month’s WTG circles, we’ll explore free-flow writing and the nature of creativity (part 1) and the role of the unconscious in creativity (part 2).
Where do you sit on the topic of creativity?
Let's explore, because,
"To die a good death, you will need to do your creative work.”
(My apologies, I don’t have a source for this quote, but I adore it!)
Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:
creative expression = self-expression
Keep your pen moving as you write the thoughts, emotions, sensations, and surroundings alive in the moment. Don’t stop to think or edit.
Accept ALL that you write - the pretty & ugly; absurd & boring. Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...