What does creativity mean to you? I suspect that if I asked a hundred people that question, I would get a hundred different answers. One thing is certain, however; every human being is creative. We have to come up with creative solutions to problems all the time – from how we deal with work conflict to cooking a meal.
I had a brief moment of panic today when I wonderded if I was using my creativity enough, then calmed down when I gave myself a stern talking to. I’m having a bit of trouble writing a particular section of my current book; I need to try and make it interesting, essentially, as it feels like I’m writing something a little dull right now. I’m happy with the previous fifty thousand words, but these three thousand words … meh. I’ve opened and closed the Word document several times over the past couple of days, and each time I have struggled to come up with something coherent.
Because I am incredibly passionate about writing, I’ve then become paranoid that I am losing my touch somehow and losing my writing skill. After an hour of this fug, I had to tell myself off; I am better than this paranoia, although it’s certainly not going to be the last time I feel like this – it’s a part of who I am, sadly.
I talk to my son about creativity all the time; he has come on leaps and bounds over the past couple of years since he’s lived at home – he has shown creativity in his artistic skills, his humour, his problem-solving, and his reading. I am so proud of what he has achieved, and how he reacts to his creative talents; he moves between them depending on what he is passionate about. During a recent period of self-isolation (covid-related), he has read each day to his nan and granddad (thank heavens for facetime), learnt how to research topics on his tablet, and occasionally found ways to entertain himself when I’ve been working. One thing he hasn’t done is stress about what he is and isn’t doing creatively; he loves a range of activities, and there’s something I can learn from that.
I love writing fiction; it’s my first passion – but not my only passion, and I need to remind myself of that. If you’re having a hard time with something, there’s no shame in stopping, taking a break, and going back to it later. That’s a lesson I have reminded myself of just this week, and remembered that I have wanted to do other creative work as well; work more on my blog, for instance, and write a column that I’ve committed to get done.
I need to give my creativity freer reign than I do right now; writing allows me to share the thoughts that endlessly run around my mind, and it allows me to communicate my ideas. I live in an era that has so many different forms of communication, and we should all capitalise on them.
I’m as creative as anyone, and sometimes it does us proud to remind ourselves of what we can do; I’ve had three books and a novella published, I co-host a podcast with a good friend, I write a weekly column for a newspaper, and I work in communications for a children’s charity part-time. All creative outlets, so why am I so focused on the fiction work and get antsy when I don’t do it every day? Perhaps because I always have an ambition to become a fiction writer first and foremost, but I’m also conscious of not being signed to an agent or a publisher at the moment – and so I need to push myself to create content that agents / publishers might actually want.
But, of course, I need to create content that’s actually good in order to have any chance at that goal. I then need to be kind to myself, of course. A friend of mine – Barbara, who I do the podcast with – is a writer as well; she’s had a few books published, and gets the work done. But she doesn’t stress it in the way I do; in fact, I don’t recall her ever stressing over her writing; she writes her fiction when she is in the right frame of mind, and works on other things when she isn’t. I like and respect her work ethic, and I am working hard to reflect that back onto myself.
I’m ambitious about my creativity being my work as well as my passion, but it turns out that I already have got a lot of creavity in every aspect of my life; I just need to teach myself to open my heart to a broader way of using it without being quite so mono-focused … and still keep that ambition for my future.