After commiting to share musings on the creative process, I decided it might really help if I took a bit of time to organise myself first, or at least brainstorm a few things I felt able to get my teeth into. I came up with a fairly eclectic list that ranges from discussing elements of narrative craft, such as plot and character, to contemplations on the Golden Mean, to confidence, synchronicity, and purpose in the face of death... Not sure at this stage how this grand plan will pan out. But each of these ideas seemed important. So I'll do my best to offer my two pennies on them.
Also, I don't really want this to become a Writers Only column; I really believe that principles of creativity are transferable. And, again, this isn't limiting us to 'conventional' artistry: being human is to be creative. Every time we're kind to someone, we build something a little more beautiful.
Hopefully, you'll be able to substitute 'writing' for anything that happens to be more within your circle of interesting.
I want to begin with a pretty basic question:
What is writing?
This makes me think of an early line in one of my favourite films, Dead Poets Society, in which a stuffy handbook reduces poetry to potential passionless exercises in analysis.
Don't get me wrong. There's a place for such approaches, and without a healthy interest in analysis so much understanding can be missed. But writing, like living, demands our passion--our personal commitment--the courage to own an opinion, an energised view.
Creativity can be analysed and debated, but to really to enrich others, I have to live with my heart wide open. Which of course is fraught with emotional danger. But that's the deal if our creations are to really live.
And the price of life is vulnerability. As Robert Frost is attributed with saying: 'No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.'
Writing--like any act of creation--means understanding that we are engaged in capturing and sharing energy. Our energy. And that we are doing so for the sake of others. Little wonder it both hurts and exhilarates...