Creativity: Does it ever feel like a special word, reserved for the ordained few with natural talent?
Writers often tell me that they are making progress in their work, but the writing doesn't feel creative. It feels flat. The sentences aren't vibrant, and the whole thing lacks something... though what, exactly, can be hard to pin point.
In these moments, I can tell that writers are aspiring to what they think creativity should look and feel like. Perhaps they hear the echoes of a workshop critic. Perhaps they can't see their own work clearly. Or perhaps they think the first draft should feel more like a final draft: polished, succinct, and packed with meaning.
In my experience, one thought lies underneath all of it: What if I'm not creative enough to do this?
CREATIVITY IS NOT A TALENT. IT'S A WAY OF DOING THINGS.
The very definition of creativity is to have the "quality or power of creating". To create is to be creative.
When you sit down to write--whether it's a blog post, a letter or a novel--you are being creative. And the more you follow your own train of thought, paying attention to what feels good or interesting rather that what might be right, the more original your writing will be.
Originality lies at the heart of creativity, too. Some definitions of creative suggest that it must stem from originality of thought or imagination. Your thought. Your imagination. So the next time you find yourself questioning your creativity, remember:
SIMPLY BY CREATING SOMETHING NEW, YOU ARE BEING CREATIVE.
Then, ask yourself:
Am I trying to write something great or perfect?
Am I comparing myself to others?
Creating something uniquely you grows out of having the freedom to and space to try new things whether they work or not. The best gift you can give to yourself as a creative writer is to ask: How would I do this if I wasn't worried about failure? When you approach your writing with curiosity, a sense of exploration and a willingness to try new things, your creativity will thrive. You will find your way to vibrant writing.
Left to your own devices, and without worrying about right or wrong, how do you define creativity?