Thoughts on Creativity

It’s only within the last few years that I’ve been able to think of myself as a creative person. I always thought creative people were the artists, the clothing designers, published authors, the people who can bring things to life just from their mind. Me? I wrote stories that didn’t go anywhere. I made jewelry for a few years, then I scrapbooked for a few years. I knit and crochet, but I use other people’s yarns and other people’s patterns and just replicate them.

But guys, you know what? I AM creative. I write stories that haven’t been written before, about characters I make up. I have three complete manuscripts. Three full-length book-type things. Sure, they haven’t been published. Doesn’t mean they’re not creative. And it doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile. Maybe those were just the ones I needed to get out before writing The One.

I’m always struggling with self-worth as far as writing goes, swinging from “Yes! I’m a great writer!” to “Who do I think I am, thinking someone else will want to read this?” Because I’ve never published a book, I think I’m not a writer. Well. That’s dumb. And I just have to keep telling myself that. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I’ve written short stories and novel-length stories and filled a dozen journals and I’ve kept this blog for three years now. I don’t write every day, but I keep coming back to writing. I am a writer.

Wow. It wasn’t until I wrote that, that I realized how true it is. I keep coming back to writing.

With my yarn, I put colors and textures and patterns together. I’m the one who chooses what will go with what. I don’t think I’ve ever used the recommended yarn for any pattern, and I don’t think I’ve ever even made a pattern in the same color(s) as the designer. I take their ideas and put my own spin on them. That IS creative.

And for a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to combine the yarn and the writing. I want to write a book where yarn/knitting is a focal point. I’ve tried, and it hasn’t worked yet. But I’m going to keep trying.

I don’t know why, but I am flush with creative energy right now, and it feels awesome. The focus has turned away from knitting and back toward writing, but that’s kind of typical for me. I tend to focus obsessively on one thing for a while, then move on. I’m not done with knitting, not at all! I spent three hours at a football game last night and was delighted to have the time to knit on the baby blanket. But in the evenings, or weekends like this, my brain is gravitating toward writing.

Not just writing, either. I’ve always wished I could draw well, and I always told myself I just couldn’t do it. Then a few days ago I was admiring a selection of drawing books and the husband said, “Why don’t you try it? You never know.” And for some reason, this time I agreed. Why not, indeed. I didn’t have to show anyone if I didn’t want to. I might not be great. But what if I could make pictures that pleased me? That would be pretty cool. So I might be heading to the library to check out some how-tos for beginners (if you have recommendations, please share!) and I’ve got a little sketch pad and a drawing pencil itching to be used. And because it’s uncomfortable and scary for me, I’m going to share my first attempt, a cube copied from a book.

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It’s not great. It’s a first attempt. I don’t think it’s going to come naturally to me the way it does for my kids, or the way writing does to me. I’m not going to be the next big artist, and that’s all right. For me, it’s okay that it’s recognizable, and it was fun.

I guess what I take from all of this is that I’m redefining what success means to me. Success is about the leap, the journey, the effort. And I don’t want to be afraid of success anymore.

12 thoughts on “Thoughts on Creativity

  1. Hey, not too bad for a start, there’s a willfull hand in these drawings, it shows. If I may venture an advice, don’t feel like you must smoothen the pen with your fingers to soften the shadows. Your drawings will look more self secure and direct if you just give the right grey tone straight away, from pressing harder or more lightly on the paper. It doesn’t matter either if you make big strokes to indicate shadow, because in the case of geometric shapes you also happen to give directions to the shapes. Ok, hope you don’t mind, but I’m a painting teacher amongst other occupations.

    • Thanks, I don’t mind a bit, since I know absolutely nothing! I used an eraser to soften the shadows, since that’s what the book I have suggested. But I definitely hope to learn how to vary the tones myself. Lots of fun things to learn. 🙂

  2. I relate so hard to this post. My sister was always praised as “the creative one” in my family, and my parents never tried to encourage me to pursue my own artistic interests. I grew up thinking that I just wasn’t talented or creative enough to do anything. I gave up drawing and, eventually, writing, even though I love both of those things. It took me years to regain my confidence enough to try again. I’m much happier doing what I want without worrying what other people think, and I’ve made progress that even I can see.

    It looks like you’re starting strong with your drawings. As long as you’re enjoying it, that’s what matters. You’ll improve before you know it. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m so glad you found the confidence to go after what you love, and that you can recognize your growth! And yes, I totally agree that it’s so happy & freeing to not care what others think–that’s been the best part of getting older. 🙂

  3. I can totally relate to this. I was telling someone they other day that I like to draw and paint but I hastily followed it up by telling them that I wasn’t an artist. I wondered after why I felt the need to tell them that. Did it matter and what is art anyway? I think putting pencil to paper (or knitting, making jewellery, playing an instrument etc) is art but I don’t apply this to myself if that makes sense.

    Anyway, keep drawing and sharing.

    Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? I loved it.

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