C is for Creativity

As you may have guessed, I love being creative. Shocker!

I love creating things. I love looking at something, knowing that I made it; I love thinking up ways of creating things using designs, patterns and brainstorming. Most of all I love getting lost in the process of creating.

Despite my default to create – I always find myself wanting to create more. Not only produce more things, but to be better at it.

For instance, I love to draw. I love the way it feels to create a picture with a pencil. The problem arises when the picture that I envisage in my head never turns out the way I want it to on the page. I just don’t have the skill I desire to be able to transfer an exact copy to the paper. It’s not that I have great aspirations of becoming the next Picasso, but it would be a fantastic thing for the image I see in my head to be miraculously transferred to paper.

The same goes for a piece of writing. I have an idea About how the result is going to be and the thing I actually produce is something that is full puce rather than the technicolour in my head.

Something that I have realised, though – in my years of using and honing my creativity – is that a large part of creating is accepting your own style and ability level. Both of these things can be developed, altered and influenced. They are never set in concrete.

For example, each time I wrote something to post, I handwritea draft in a notebook. Then I read it over, editing as I go. Next, I type it up (whether that be on my laptop or my phone) – again editing as I go.

By the time I have drafted and done some minor editing whilst reviewing it twice, I am still not all that happy with it.

But creating things so quickly, creating them for mass consumption, making them easily read or accessible (and I guess imperfect – like everything in the world) doesn’t necessarily need a delicately thought out sentence paved with vocabulary that most of the general public have never heard before.

This, I have learnt to accept that my writing is never going to be perfect; it’s never going to be the epic I envisage in my over-active noggin’

I can only practice and hope that, one day, my ability can develop just a few steps closer to the way I imagine things to be.

So why is creativity my fault? It’s what I’ve always known – what I’ve been drawn to.

So, you may be wondering what creative things I do?

Well:

1. Write

2. Draw/colour

3. My mum taught me how to make patchwork quilts

4. She also taught me to embroider

5. I used to make paper collages

6. I used to make small wooden structures from the scraps my grandfather had in his workshop

7. Play piano

8. Sing

9. I used to write my own songs

10. Origami

11. I took dancing lessons when I was younger – your regular contemporary dance, and later highland dancing.

12. Card making

13. I learnt to knit when I was younger.

So, yeah, I love and breathe creativity.

I tried to live a life without creativity a couple of times. I doesn’t turn out that well. I spiral into this state or upset and dejectedness that I find it very difficult to see out of. It’s like navigating as a figure of black and white through a world of technicolour – lonely.

Creativity has been my friend in the toughest, most unbearable parts of my life. And I wholeheartedly recommend you take up at least one creative avenue. You don’t have to be good at it. You don’t have to show it to anyone. The enjoyment and inner contentment that you get out of creating something will make you feel proud, accomplished and just that extra bit awesome.

Instead of creative piece here, I am going to share with you a moment that I can now pinpoint as the moment I began wishing for writing to be my career.

In 2009, I was blessed with the most brilliant English teacher. I am sure she her modesty would argue with me against my adamence of her brilliance.

She was the first one gave me confidence to believe that my writing might remotely be worth it’s salt.

One of our homework assignments was to describe a landscape mimicking the writing style of Alistair MacLeod’s Island.

When I first got the assignment, I thought that it was impossibly unfair. How could a high school student emulate an established writer’s voice?

Once I considered the ways I’m which I could complete the task, though, I realised that it wasn’t about creating a perfect impersonation of Macleod. It was about becoming aware of the writing techniques that authors use as their trademark to develop their “style”.

So, I chose my landscape carefully. I made my mother drive me to my grandparent’s farm where I sat on a small hill next to a windmill and overlooking a dam. In the distance, a line of hills broke the horizon.

I sat there for around a half hour with my pen, my lecture pad and my copy of Island; I wrote about what I saw, heard and smelled.

The serenity I experienced at this time was enough to have me hooked. There was a slight breeze, and it was almost dead silent around me.

I remember walking back to my grandparent’s house feeling so content. That was the moment I knew I wanted to be a writer. From that moment on, I began to write more; I began getting good grades (rather than mediocre grades) for English, and my love of books and everything written intensified.

From there, I went on to complete a university degree in creative writing with minor in literature.

So, that, my friends, is the story of how I became the words you see on a screen – delivered in a slightly clichéd way…but true nonetheless.

See you next time!

xxx

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