Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Being Creative

Creativity is amazing. The good thing is, you don't have to be a certain place at a certain time to find it. My daughter takes her drawing stuff just about anywhere - here she is at work on the picnic table in the backyard (a picnic table that's been painted just about every color of the rainbow!) Sometimes I can't bear the thought of working in my basement office. My mood doesn't match the no-windows, cinder-block wall environment. Other times, I crave the solitude and enclosure. But on the days that I don't, I like to use my laptop and either camp out in my bedroom, on the couch, or the front porch.

But location isn't the only thing that affects my creativity. Lately at work I've been listening to a classical music radio station. When I do, I can feel my brain shift and suddenly, I have more creative energy. Music definitely plays a part in how I feel. And the weird thing is, sometimes it makes me creative and sometimes it interferes with that creativity and I crave silence. There's something musical about silence, too, don't you think?

Browsing in the bookstore stirs my creativity. When I head to Barnes & Noble and walk through all those stacks of books, I am in awe that there are so many writers out there who got their book on the shelves. And when I see that, yeah, I'm a bit intimidated - but I'm also more determined to become one of those successful authors. And I usually can't wait to get home and start writing.

Taking walks also fuels my creativity. How can you not be creative when you look at nature? It is simply fascinating. If you take a moment just to look around you, you'll notice things you didn't before. Look, really look, at a flower petal, at all the different shapes and vibrant colors bursting in that tiny little canvas.

Check out the ants scurrying on the ground, building their home one piece of dirt at a time.

Watch how a cat gracefully jumps on the window sill (or the couch), his body moving in just the right way at just the right time.

And in our writing, we can explore that creativity to our heart's content. We can play with words to create images and thoughts and emotions. We can create our own world, populated with characters from our own imagination. How much more creative can you get?

Creativity is all around us - we only have to open our eyes to see it. And as my nephew once said, "God is a pretty good artist."

I couldn't agree more.


  1. We have a swing on our back porch and as I sway back and forth it seems to fill me with ideas to write.

  2. Lovely pictures! And a laptop is all about being mobile and finding creativity everywhere!

  3. You're absolutely correct.

    I have no patience with people who complain about boredom. How can you be bored when the world is such a fascinating place?

    Regarding your cinderblock walls-- have you considered having a mural painted on them? Perhaps one of your favorite sites from Italy?

  4. Brian - I love to sit on my porch swing and just rock. It's very soothing.

    Ell - I'd be a lot happier with my laptop if the darn battery hadn't died! Now I have to plug it in and stretch the extension cord out the front door. Must look into getting a new battery...

    Devon - I actually did paint some inspiring words on the wall, so that helps. I have some cool WW2 posters that I can put up, but getting them to STAY is the challenge. (the cats and all that!)

  5. Last night I had my laptop outside writing while my boys played in our redneck swimming pool. I giant metal stock tank.

  6. Travis - giant metal stock tanks make awesome swimming pools!

  7. I find watching history documentaries sparks my creativity as well :)

    And I move around from spot to spot to do my writing, and change from using my desktop/laptop/alphassmart and plain old pen/paper. It all depends on my mood. Sometimes I write well out in public, like at a Starbucks, with the background noise.

  8. Tess - Yes! History documentaries do that for me, too. That's why I love having the History Channel and History International. I watched a pretty long documentary on Russia a few weeks ago and suddenly wanted to write a novel set in Russia. ;-)

  9. I have just crossed a line that I'd considered taboo for many years. Yes, I've started to dog ear pages on books. Ugh! I couldn't do it for the longest time, but I am so inspired by the turn of the pretty phrase or an ingenious character insight that I finally broke down and I've allowed my self to fold the corner of a page over when the author has done something I want to come back to -- not on hardcovers, never them! But yes, music, nature, lots of things get me excited about writing, but never more than a writer who has done something especially beautiful.

  10. Ack! Lisa! How DARE you dog ear book pages! ;-)

    Seriously, I still can't do it to this day. When I first started buying paperback books, I wouldn't even break the spine on them. I kept them pristine, covers and all. That has changed a bit since I leave books laying all over the house where things can get spilled on them via the kids or the cats. :-)


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