I had to ponder on today’s fortune, before I knew what I was going to write. It was then that I realized I was looking for inspiration to come to my aid. That is not necessarily a good thing.
Many people think that writers, artists, and musicians create their works from inspiration. A good creative person does not sit around, staring out a window, waiting to be inspired. That is what amateurs do. The best way to be creative is to start working.
Creativity is a process; it builds with each task you perform. One small creative effort leads to another, and another, and soon you are on a roll. Of course, there can be detours, when you reject an idea. Those rejections count as creativity too. They lead you in new directions that you probably would never have considered.
As you work, the creative juices will flow, and ideas will occur to you. These ideas can be big or small, but they all build toward that final product. If you find yourself stuck, or scrambling for something to help you to the next step, you may want to try a different creative media. When I find myself at a loss for words, and can’t write, I draw.
Creative people need to practice in a variety of media. If you draw, it can help to play music, or sing. If you sing, it can help if you write in a journal. Dylan Klempner, an interdisciplinary artist, writer and journalist, wrote, “Artists need to cross-train in other art forms like athletes do. This is how we hone our creative skills.” This cross training can help the brain tap into other creative ideas that were asleep. Once we wake them up with a new creative task, we can continue working.
Artists need to cross-train in other art forms like athletes do. This is how we hone our creative skills. – Dylan Klempner
Many writers use drawing to aid them in their creative process. The novelist and playwright, E.E. Cummings (1894-1962) learned art from his father1 and then later studied art in Paris. He loved to draw sea lions. He said, “Let us not forget that every authentic ‘work of art’ is in and of itself alive and that, however, ‘the arts’ may differ among themselves, their common function is the expression of that supreme alive-ness which is known as ‘beauty.’”
Mark Twain (1835–1910) drew doodles in his journals, and manuscripts. He even used his artwork to secure patents for three inventions2. Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) wrote and illustrated her beloved The Tale of Peter Rabbit. That all started from a picture letter originally sent to the son of Anne Moore, her former governess3. Even author and science fiction pioneer H.G. Wells (1866–1946) kept a diary of hundreds of humorous cartoons for his second wife4. He called them “picshuas.”
We build on our craft with moments of creativeness. Everyone has creativity in them. Some more than others, but that spark is there. You just need help to bring it out. You can write a poem, color in a coloring book, build with Lego®, or even play in the sandbox. These all take creativity and imagination, and they’re right there inside each and every one of us. Don’t wait around for inspiration, or you will be waiting a long time. Instead, just start working—or playing—and that spark will grow.
- Friedman, Donald. The Writer’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers. Minneapolis: Mid-List, 2007. Print.
- Brower, Steven. “The Visual Art and Design of Famous Writers.” www.printmag.com. Adobe, 25 June 2012. Web. 26 May 2016.
- Richter, Barbara Basbanes. “The Tale of Beatrix Potter.” www.finebooksmagazine.com. Fine Books & Collections, 5 Dec. 2014. Web. 26 May 2016.
- Lynn, Andrea. “News Bureau | ILLINOIS.” News Bureau | ILLINOIS. University of Illinois, 31 May 2006. Web. 26 May 2016.