The Importance of Creativity When Developing Your Craft

I suppose I should start with an introduction. This blog serves the purpose of documenting the publication of my first full-length novel and exploring the creativity and craft of writing.

My purpose is to connect with people who share this writing life and those who might aspire to it.

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My emphasis is more about living a creative life than just craft. There are many blogs, websites and books for teaching craft. While important, I think the true heart of writing is the connection we have to our innate creative selves, which is something that is cultivated and practiced. Writing doesn’t have to be “good” to be useful. Sure, readers enjoy “good” writing. But we should always write for ourselves first, and eventually we can evolve to write for others too.

I started writing when I was young. My first memories of writing were from second grade when I won a young author’s award for writing and illustrating a book about a historic flood that happened in my hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Around the same age I wrote and illustrated another book about a happy little bee that simply wants to find his teapot and maybe make some friends along the way. I’ve written hundreds of poems, short stories and a few novellas. I’m a genre-hopper, but I’ll go more into that in a later post.  

I continued writing into college where I realized there seemed to be hard and fast rules I had to follow to be a good writer. 

 It seemed to be an overwhelming world of information that I couldn’t cope with. It dampened my creativity as I clung to those rules and despaired that I couldn’t seem to conform to them. I nearly quit writing after that.

Some inspirations came here and there, but eventually it tapered off and the flow of ideas reduced from a deluge to a drip. It was like that drip from a faucet you swore you heard, but when you look, it no longer drips and you begin to think you’re just hearing things. I still carried around a notebook just in case, a habit I’d acquired in middle school, as if I were still a writer. I knew I still was a writer, even if I wasn’t writing. It was simply something I felt I was called to do, and it was always a part of me. After filling notebooks quickly, accumulating tall piles, one notebook now lasted me years instead of weeks. I felt that maybe our relationship had really ended, even if somewhere in me the flame still burned.

For National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), November 2016, I decided I wanted to reconnect with writing after a hiatus of several years and set out to write my first full-length novel of 50,000 words or more.

Despite my lack of inspiration and creativity, I decided to write, even though I didn’t feel like writing.

My writing as still almost non-existent, but a friend asked if I wanted to write with her for November after challenging me to Inktober where I completed one ink drawing every day for October. After a long dry spell, I felt like I was finally nourishing the parched soil of my creativity and mixing a rich, black earth into the nutrient-deficient topsoil. Throughout October, I drew, then wrote down ideas for novels. My mind fired up and ideas started flowing into my notebooks once again. It seemed effortless. It was like reuniting with a lover after being apart. I knew the body and soul of writing, and it knew me.

Come November, I wrote. 50,283 words later, I had a novel.

Now, I’m continuing the journey, nourishing my creativity and embarking on a path of revision and publication. I’ll be documenting it here, and I hope that a few of you will want to follow along on this exploration of creativity.

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