What is creativity? originality, imagination, inspiration, inventiveness, resourcefulness, and vision
You might have heard that November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo, is in full swing now. Many writers and aspiring novelists use this 50k writing challenge to jumpstart their creativity, but for me, the format has always seemed terrifying. But, since I had been going through the longest slump of my writing life last year, I was desperate for a cure. I signed up, hoping the commitment would force me to accomplish…well, something. No such luck. After a week or so of agonizing lack of inspiration, I gave up. Perhaps my imagination had fled. I had no idea.
Creativity is an amazing thing. It’s resourceful. It morphs into something different depending upon where our lives and hearts are at any given time. I think for creative people, there is always a burning desire that can’t be fully explained. Our creativity is hardwired into our souls, a hunger that drives us to question everything around us, turn the world on its head, dissect emotions, destroy norms, and build new worlds. Sometimes that means simply challenging the status quo and using our voice to speak when we see injustice. Originality is a new truth, fiction or not.
The key to creativity is to find our own unique path. It’s not simply to follow the right steps, like in so many books on writing. There are rules for building stories, plot arcs, and all of that. That has never been me. I used to think that made me a fraud. I thought, someday, I’d be discovered. No outline, no plan, just winging it. Little did I know that is exactly how creativity works. Sure, outlines and guides are useful, and many very successful writers rely on them to stay focused on the work. But the real magic happens when we write from our spirit. When we go off the rails into the abyss, flying without a net, feeling the energy pulsing around and through us, that is when we harness the power of our creativity.
Which brings me back to NaNoWriMo. I had no plan to write anything structured. For months now, I’ve gotten flashes and snippets of inspiration, which really amounted to only nuggets of thought without any clear vision. I faithfully scribbled them down like any creative person does, because our heart knows innately that it matters. Our natural, intuitive, poetic madness of our subconscious visionary understands what our conscious and cautious brain can never believe. Creativity is essential to our being. You can try to ignore it or keep it bottled up, but it will find a way to escape, whether it leaks out in those snippets or finally bursts through the dam, the force cannot be stopped. We must throw ourselves into the unknown, stumble around in the wilderness of our uncertainty, to find the story that flows in our veins. That’s why I had to jump into NaNoWriMo, because the very format forces you to find that irrational spirit and go with it.
I’m at this crazy junction. On one hand I’m scared shitless because my fiction has seen such a long drought, and I think Do I have anything good to say anymore? The characters nonstop talking in my head seem to think I do. Then, on the other hand, I have this nonfiction project that just won’t let me go. This one scares the hell out of me because hard truths are difficult to hear. Truth hurts even when it’s said with love. So, I decided to stop resisting and do this NaNo thing to push myself into that crazy, scary place that will make me open that vein and bleed, because when you let go of the ledge and free fall, wild creativity is unleashed.
Here goes nothing…
Good luck and happy writing!