Creativity. Every writer needs some. Most of us appear to chase creativity, yet somehow, someway, we seem to miss its full potential. My view of this comes from years of introspection, contemplation, and subconscious mulling over. In other words, completely non-scientific in the traditional form of the phrase.
Nothing we create, in my opinion, is truly new and original thought. We may slant our writing a special, uncommon way. We may come up with a concept which bucks conventional wisdom or tradition. We may even get all “psychedelic” and goofy with our writing. Yet, everything we do has been triggered within us by someone else. Concepts which we dream up are based on something another person already built. We may take this concept further. We may change the direction or processes of the concept, but its root remains in someone else.
Our parents taught us many things before we could even speak. While you may think I’m speaking of “how to eat” and “how to go to the bathroom,” I’m really writing about subliminal lessons on interpersonal relationships and how to deal with anger, and what voice tone means, and where to find peace (or not). Babies learn at alarming rates. Their abilities to take in information and use it is astounding. We get molded and influenced very early on.
Then our teachers and care givers (babysitters, relatives) get hold of us. They tell us things. We believe them, for the most part. But yet again, its what is not being said nor necessarily intended, which we also glean and use. Much the same as the paragraph above, we soak in thousands, likely millions, of informational tidbits and file them away, often without realizing it.
When the time comes for us to release ourselves to creativity, we do so based on all the billions of bytes of information we’ve gathered over the course of our life. When we are very young, we are free to access creativity on a more honest and zany level. As we get older and more influenced by other people, we place tethers on our creativity as to where we allow ourselves to go. The more fettered, the tougher the process becomes to access a deep creative level.
I’m not attempting to write some deep psychological paper. What I’m working to say is that each of us, each and every one, stands indeed tainted by the influence of others. We are taught what to believe by our parents from birth. We possess no basis to accept or reject these beliefs. We get imprinted by our caregivers growing up. This is unavoidable. For me, the book, “The Four Agreements” does an outstanding job of addressing this topic in more depth and detail.
For my purposes here, I simply wish to raise the alarm to writers and aspiring writers. By the way, there’s nothing we can do about this. The situation can simply be labeled “the human condition.” Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of brainier folk have studied all this. Again, I’m writing from a contemplative, introspective, subconscious mulling perspective. If, as writers, we wish to access our most creative selves, we must find ways to throw off as much outside influence as we can.
This is why I advocate throwing out concern over the “rules of writing” when you create your first draft of a book. I’m not saying you throw them out and incinerate them, I’m saying to set them aside. If I said, “Set aside the rules of writing during your first draft,” I would come across sounding far too passive and would grab virtually no attention to a subject which is very important to writers whether they know it or not. Writers who access their creative nature unfettered by rules and mores, find the ability to go places most people won’t attempt to consider in their rational mind.
How does Steven King or George R. R. Martin come up with their written imageries, plots, characters, dialogue, etc? Are they sticking with tame themes and socially acceptable tenets? No! They allow themselves to go places most sane and rational people refuse to go in their minds. They access their creativity by giving themselves permission to “go there” at some point. They free themselves to their inner writing “truths.”
Don’t confuse “inner writing truths” with life truths. Yes, these two may intersect, but often one is a caricature of the other. Am I making sense here? I’m asking you, “How far are you willing to go with your writing outside the influence of others.” To me, this is a journey, an adventure, a quest, in discover just who the hell you are.
We allow ourselves to be defined by other people’s influence. Their influence has been predicated upon them by others who were in their turn influenced by others. The line you draw here hearkens to the division problem whose answer is a non-repeating, infinite progression. Or, if you will, leading back to One person. Hmmmm. Interesting, eh? If not, I cannot believe you read this far, or maybe you’re laughing at me. Who knows?
In helping writers get their books written, I work to help them throw off some of the most burdensome baggage they’ve accumulated by others over the years. It’s amazing how much progress a writer can make on their book when they let go of internal judgments and criticisms. My view of creativity is “chaos.” A swirling dervish of anywhere-you-want-to-go-permission-if-you-will-only-grasp-it energy. Writing the “company line” of tame, acceptable writing will get you nowhere. Allowing yourself to go places which scare you, make to laugh out loud with no one around, bring tears to your eyes and heart when no one sees, will gift you writing with impact.
I’m an emotional writer. I believe in the power of emotion within us. Most people flee this deep sea, turbulent spawn of creativity. Some, some dive into it and come out with stories. Stories which kindle within others memories of experiences and influences of others in their lives. But you must learn to get to that place within you where you may access powerful concepts.
We cannot simply turn this on and off. In fact, much of the time, we struggle to simply write a vanilla sentence. But when you know there’s something within you, when you know you possess words which need to be written, you will strive to get back to that place of writing nirvana. You will work and work and work to access your inner writing truths you wish to spill out into this world. Little will satisfy you as much as when you get there and stake your claim on a piece of creativity you feel demands attention.
As writers we are creative. Even if that “creativity” derives itself from our past’s lexicon of real characters who strolled this earth. When we endeavor to find our closest to our heart truth, and we write it, we will have written well that day. Find yourself. Throw off the shackles of others who’ve intentionally or not, tethered you to rules and regulations which hold your creativity at bay. Access your personal chaos. Find your best voice. Be bold about letting it out. Let the words fall where they may.
“I think, therefore I am” may be quickly followed by “I write therefore I feel.”