Weekly Musing: What Fuels Creativity?

Note: Apologies for being MIA for over a month. Life had been intervening, not in a bad way, for the past several weeks. Things should be calming down enough to allow me to get back on track. Thanks for your patience.

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always been fascinated by creativity. Going as far back as elementary school I would watch behind-the-scenes specials of shows and movies. I was blown away by how special effects, storylines, characters, sets, etc. were created. As I’ve gotten older I am still fascinated by creativity in all areas from music to art to dance and of course, writing. To see other people’s expression is amazing. How did they come up with that? It’s awe-inspiring and intimidating to know someone’s mind works on a different level than mine.

To this day I still love watching special features and listening to interviews with fellow creative types to learn where their inspirations come from. Often I have wondered what sparks creativity and listening to others has taught me it can come from anything. Many joke without coffee or tea the muse will continue to slumber. Others joke without copious amounts of alcohol and drugs they are unable to create.

Beyond those stimuli, what really is the root of creativity? It’s this need, this want to express ourselves in whatever form fits. An individual’s life experiences also spur it acting as a healthy way for us to deal with emotions and events both good and bad. Seeing the world around us and wanting to process how it makes us feel also causes us to create. Some use their art to comment on what they feel is lacking or is too much of in society.

Obvious writing is my creative outlet. What drives it is it the only outlet I feel comfortable with and seem to have some aptitude for. What inspires me to create comes from a variety of sources. Sometimes it’s a show I’m watching. Sometimes it’s what I see going on in the world. Other times it comes from an internal struggle I’m going through. Other times I simply can’t put my finger on where an idea comes from; it just comes.

To me it is vital we all have a creative outlet. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees it and one certainly doesn’t need to pursue it as a career. Not to sound New Agey or full of “woo”, but without a creative outlet of some kind a person risks burying emotions clamoring to be released. Creating something, no matter its format, allows for such a release. Whatever drives your creativity, embrace it.

Weekly Musing: Living Creatively

My own creativity is something I finally started listening to when I was already into adulthood. What I mean is that is when I started giving in to urges to just do something, anything, to get ideas, thoughts, emotions, my voice out I always held back. Eventually I figured out it to let it out. And guess what? I think it has made my life so much better.

Creativity has been something that has always fascinated me. Even as a kid I remember watching behind-the-scenes specials about how Fraggle Rock was made, how HBO’s opening sequence before each show was made, or special effects behind movies. The older I got the more I was still fascinated by how people came up with their ideas for books, movies, songs, art, whatever and however people expressed themselves. I am one of those people who still buys DVDs mainly for the special features and commentaries. I love searching for interviews with my favorite musicians and writers whenever they talk about their process and inspiration.

I was jealous because these people had managed to tap into a side of them I hoped I had. Deep down there was a voice desperate to get out but I couldn’t figure out what my avenue would be. I can’t draw; my stick figure people look like they have orthopedic problems. I can sorta play an instrument but I’m a mediocre musician on a good day. Composing my own songs is out of the question and my singing voice is best left to the car. I’m okay at taking pictures but not enough to fire up my creativity. Dancing is out as I trip over flat surfaces.

Finally it dawned on me to explore creative writing. After all I was a strong writer in school and had on and off come up with stories, even beginning some. The more I got into writing, not only did I become a happier person, the more I wanted to explore creativity and what fuels it. It has also given me confidence to explore other avenues of creativity.

It’s interesting to see how doing one creative activity can snowball into others. For example, I have always enjoyed cooking, more so when I started going off script. With the exception of baking, an activity I only do around Christmas, I view most recipes as suggestions. If I don’t have a particular spice, I’ll substitute. I like being able to increase or decrease the level of heat in a dish. I love playing around with different flavor combinations especially since I enjoy food from all over the world.

Another example of expanding my creativity is recently I have taken up coloring. Now on the surface this doesn’t sound like much, but for me coloring is a way for me to create art. I never really liked coloring as a kid because I was too busy trying to stay within the lines and color realistic-looking cats and dogs. But with adult coloring books, the designs are abstract so I don’t feel as if I have to conform to the norm which I sorta natural rebel against. Conformity = confinement as far as I’m concerned.

Having different creative outlets benefits my writing. Firstly, I have to concentrate completely on whatever that other activity is. Once my brain loses focus is when I start making mistakes. Secondly, engaging in another form of creativity rests the part of my brain I’ve been using for hours to write. Anyone who thinks using one’s mind isn’t physically exhausting hasn’t really ever used his or her brain. Thirdly, it allows for expressions of emotions and thoughts which simply cannot be express in the written word. This is why music, art, dance, etc. exist.

Perhaps I’m odd but somehow I’m able to turn off my writer’s brain when I do other activities. Or maybe I’m burying whatever issues I’m struggling with subconsciously yet my mind isn’t really “off”. No matter how I do it, the rest refreshes me so that when I turn on my writing brain it opens up the flood gates. I think this might be true for other creative types. I know writers who also paint, draw, or are musicians. There are actors who also sing, dance, or write for fun. Artists who write, make films, or play music as well.

 

Weekly Musing: Picture This

This week I thought I would do something different. Something hopefully less wordy then my posts of late, a little bit more fun, and something more visual because sometimes that is the best way to express a thought. Or in this case just to brag a little bit about my writing space.

A while ago I found a link with pictures of 40 creative people, most of whom were writers. What’s so neat about looking over these pictures is how these people were either completely messy or completely organized, nothing in between. Granted some of these spaces have been preserved and thus tidied up for tourists.

My own writing space has evolved over the years and continues to do so. In our old house I took over a spare bedroom that overlooked the park behind our house with a boring view of the desert.

Now my writing space is different. When we were looking at houses, one of the requirements was that I had to have my own space and it had to be fairly good size. What I got was a loft all to myself although it is technically considered a bedroom since it had a full bathroom.

As you can see I have not one but two desks. One holds my laptop and is nothing more than a simple heavy-duty plastic table. Messy but still somewhat organized if only for me. It’s odd having a messy space because I’m a pretty organized person and can’t stand to have things out of their right spot. Yet when it comes to the space I spend a good chunk of my day, a little mess is fine. I can still find things including the desk top itself so no harm, no foul. Computer Desk

My other desk, free of electronics, is my actual writing desk. Admittedly, though, there are times I write in other places but this is my primary spot. As you can see, it’s a bit more organized as the space itself is an actual proper desk. I love it and the chair is really comfortable. Although it isn’t open like my other desk, I think the closed in space works well for me. Makes for mostly distraction free writing. I also have on it reference books I use most often. Tucked away in a drawer are legal size pads for when I’m just brainstorming or revising. Writing Desk

Since my writing sanctuary is a loft space, the one thing I didn’t get was a view. All I have are a couple of windows that look out to the side of the neighbor’s house. At least the cat enjoys the view. Windows and bookcases

As you can see I do have somewhat adequate room for bookcases although if I don’t stop acquiring books I’ll run out of space. I also have filled up pretty much every available piece of wall space with various things including 2 white boards, a map of the United States, and a dry erase calendar to help me keep track of deadlines and events. I’ve even tacked stuff up on the closest door but that’s as part of research for a book I’m working on. Corner Whiteboards

There you have it. My lovely writing space. Not my ideal but it’s more than functional especially when I consider the floor as additional work area. I love it for its openness and being completely separate from the rest of the house. Definitely my own personal corner of the world.