Writers sometimes have a complicated relationship with creativity. That said, I think we are all natural makers of things. Maybe your creative outlet is writing, making art, filmmaking, sculpting, baking, or a few of these things combined.
Is creativity harder for grown-ups?
Famous painter, Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”
This is so true! Some people are just better at giving themselves permission to create. Experiencing the creative process sometimes requires putting judgement aside and letting go of having to make something good.
Do you feel differently when you write something for fun and when you write something with the intention of making money from it? I know I do. When commerce comes in the expectations change. That said, I’m still a big fan of making money with creativity projects.
My Pen and Parent co-blogger, Amber Roshay and I wanted to share our ideas about creativity obstacles and how to overcome them.
What are your creativity struggles?
Melissa: For me, writing is a creative practice that I need to be good at and now approach more like a business. Because of this, I’ve realized that I also need creative outlets with no expectations, where I can let myself be terrible at something and where the stakes are low.
My kiddo is into art right now so I took him to an open studio art school where you buy a package of materials and use the studio space to create whatever you want. He picked a drawing package and I chose a collage in a box.
It was fun. But I did catch myself thinking, I need to make sure this doesn’t look terrible when I’m done. Then I let go and enjoyed the feel of painting on the mod podge with a brush and sticking paper to wood.
Baking is another area where I enjoy exploring my creative side.
My early creations were sometimes dumped straight into the trash. After lots of practice I got better at it. The wonderful thing is, you can put some ingredients together, make something amazing and two hours later be enjoying it with your family.
Amber: For me, my biggest creative struggle has been sticking with the same project to fruition. That being said, I have written two novels and co-wrote a romance novel under a pen name, but this took a few years, and I really had to push myself to completion. I mean REALLY push myself.
The underlying problem is that I could write about so many things, but I become bored easily and then moved on to the next shiny object. My way of overcoming this writing obstacle is to create a writing schedule that I stick to every day.
Sounds too simple? Sometimes “simple” is the answer.
Another obstacle right now is balancing motherhood with writing. I really have to protect my writing time. AND finding the time to read. Reading and writing, whether it’s books or blogs feeds your writing muse and making the time is important.
So, what do I do? Well, I set a strict writing schedule and read before bed. As a mom, teacher, and writer, I believe full-heartedly in the power of schedules.
Sounds too boring? Not when you’re “finding” the time for what’s important to you.
Fun creative projects
If you want to play along with us, get out a sheet of paper and write down the creative projects that have fired you up and the creative experiences that have left you feeling more drained. Amber and I are sharing our experiences below:
Melissa: While I've experienced joy during certain creative projects, some have brought on a high followed by a low. Some creative projects have been more fun than others.
I like writing emails to friends and personal essays. Writing, casting and producing a short film was super fun. And years ago when I wrote plays that I could be in with friends, that was exhilarating too.
Amber: I adore writing personal essays. Maybe it’s the narcissist in me. Or the fact that I hope that my writing helps fix a problem or transform lives. But writing them takes a lot of time. I have to feel the words before I write and then rewrite again and again. So this is my struggle.
In the past year or so, I’ve discovered I love blogging and learning new technology. Recently, I created my first online writing/blogging course infusing all my passion for writing with my teaching experience to create a “new baby” called Get Paid to Write Quality Blog Posts.
It took months to write the coursebook and then film the videos. I also put it all together myself on a website. Some parts haven’t been a true joy, but now that it's done, I’m starting to think of it as my third novel. P.S. I couldn’t have done it without Melissa.
Less fun creative projects
Melissa: I haven’t loved writing books, content on subjects that don’t fire me up or Facebook copy meant to “engage”. That doesn’t mean I won’t do these activities, they are just more like “work” and less likely to give me that creative high.
Amber: I really don’t enjoy writing sales copy. Although I appreciate the art form. It isn’t easy to inspire strangers to buy your product or to be creative yet sales driven.
As in all writing genres their are conventions that you work with and struggle against. I tend to be wordy and need to par down my language. But as a writer and blogger learning how to write that converts is an artform one must learn.
But truly, whoever thought that being creative would be fun all the time, isn’t being honest or perhaps is one of the lucky ones. A creative person is driven by the desire to create, regardless of whether you experience highs or lows. But when you glide on the buoyancy of the highs, you believe (even if it’s just for a second) that you’ll never touch the ground again.
If you write, especially with the aim of getting paid, it will take more time than it takes to create a batch of muffins or a collage. Patience and persistence are key. I know those two p-words are hard for me, so I think it’s important to incorporate immediate gratification creativity into your life. So what are you going to go out and make today?
What are your thoughts on creativity? We’d love to hear them in the comments!
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