Friday, April 10, 2009
These days I’ve found myself with the old African proverb, “She who teaches also learns,” flowing through my mind as I contemplate helping others and myself on the creativity path.
It’s interesting even though I’ve spent many years in and around creative environments i.e. teaching art, working as graphic designer, architectural draftsperson, editing curricula in Children’s Television and presently writing fiction, I often feel the difficulty inside myself to simply allow myself to be. And not feel compelled to explain my creative motive, my creative existence to those for whom creativity is a nebulous blob. And while I feel everyone can add creativity to any job there are many for whom being creative is for children and adults who haven’t decided to grow up.
Usually these folks that I’m introducing the creative process to are new friends, or friends of friends who’ve over heard me say, “I’m a writer.” This simple stated fact makes most questions the ends and outs of writing.
One small thing I do to support my creative life as well as my sanity is I’m learning that these folks are mostly curious, and while I not always in the mood to answer I’ve learned to use these opportunities to practice delivering quick pitches. What is your book about? It’s a coming of age novel about growing up and coming out the South. And there it is.
Boom, mostly this satisfies the average person. I add more if it is appropriate. But I’ve also learned to change the subject, deflect if I don’t want to engage that person any more or just want to change the subject. In the past I felt (sometime still do) the need to answer all questions. But I’ve discovered what I need most is to take care of my creative spirit. It’s also fine to say, “Well that’s my summary for tonight, what about you? What do you do that’s creative?” And let the other person say or runaway from the subject. Sometime they literally run away! That’s great too.
Small things are truly worth trying. Recently I’ been reading Steven King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. And I’ve introduced back into my writer’s life writing four to five days a week and getting in touch with the characters of my second novel. I’ve tweaked it for myself in that I write for at least thirty minutes. And while I’d love to come up with the thousand words a day that Steven suggests for beginners, I’m more focused on the regularity of writing consistently. Often I write for two to three hours, which I find, is plenty. Still one day I’d like to write the two thousand words Steven puts I everyday but for now I’m good.
Red roses aren't a mystery just filled with beauty and creativity