Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Writing and a creative life




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to the IWSG page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.


Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
November's awesome co-hosts:   Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman

And this month's optional question: How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?


I like the question, so here goes a shot at an answer.

First off, I have been writing off and on all my life, so in some ways there is no "before." But for far too many years it was more "off" than "on," and the periods between bouts of working on a project were far too long; I'll count those years as "before." 

My more serious writing goes back far enough that it's hard to remember what life was like before. A little research on my computer suggests I wrote the first Ninja Librarian story about March of 2010. I published the book at the end of 2011 or January 2012, IIRC, and some point in between is where I started writing seriously and doing it regularly. 

This evolution into being a writer came at the end of the period when raising my boys was a 100% sort of job. They were both out of grade school, and suddenly I had a lot more time for myself. So in some ways, I don't know if the changes were as much about writing as about shifts in other parts of my life. But this I know: I became a lot happier and more focused when I finally became what I'd always wanted to be. 

I think that during those years with two little kids at home I had pretty much quit everything creative in my life. I stopped doing much music--my oldest son, especially, didn't like me to play the piano, and I had no time to join any musical groups, as I had done before the boys were born. So music fell out of my life (and, sadly, has mostly stayed that way, though I occasionally turn to the piano for fun). I was learning photography, but doing it with the kids along played into my own lack of patience so nothing amazing was happening there. Somewhere in there I starting putzing around with watercolors, too. That has remained a happy outlet for creativity without judgement, since my paintings are, in a word, crappy, and show little sign of ever being anything else. Sometimes it's good to have no expectations.

But writing... a story turns out to be a great retreat, and the more I wrote, the more ideas came pouring in. I tell kids when I talk at schools that I think the imagination is a muscle, and like all muscles, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. I firmly believe that. That's why it's harder to get going after a long period of not-writing, as I've had this year. Ignoring the ideas and sparks discourages them and they go away until you work out the muscle (the imagination muscle? surely not the imaginary muscle!) and it starts firing again. 

So, the short answer:  writing makes me a more creative person, and that makes me a happier person.

Can you remember a time before you were a writer? Do you think being creative makes you more creative? Leave a comment and let me know!

Hey! I'm also posting today on the IWSG Anthologies blog, so drop over there and say hi! 

19 comments:

  1. It is really good to have a creative outlet that doesn't have expectations. We need that to heal and to get inspired. I used to love watercolors as I kid. I should try my hand at it again. :)

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    1. You should try them! I took them up because they didn't require a lot of special stuff, and I thought it would be easy. I was right about the first part (mostly), but dead wrong on the second!

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  2. Hmm, my first comment didn't post so here goes again - I'm sorry if this is a repeat!

    I can't remember not writing!

    And I love your attitude about the watercolors. Something I need to start applying to anything art-related I try. :)

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    1. Some of us just have to recognize our limitations and enjoy them :)

      I think a lot of us who write have been doing so since we could hold a pencil.

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  3. I started writing/making up stories when I was about 5, so no I don't remember the time before. But I do remember when I started writing more "seriously" (ie, knowing that someone else was going to read what I wrote - and hopefully pay for it), so I do remember that shift quite well. I've had to put away most of my other creative endeavours in order to focus on writing, unfortunately. My kids are still young and eat up a lot of time.

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    1. There's only so much you can do, and I found that raising kids not only sucked up a lot of time, but also a lot of my creative energy. You are one of my heroes for the amount you manage to do while your life is trying so hard to make it impossible!

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  4. I agree about imagination muscle. Use it or lose it. ;-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Well, I seem to do a competent job of it most of the time :)

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  6. My writing has had many out times too just because of a busy life of working and taking care of a family. Glad you have found more time to write. I'm hoping that I will too soon.

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  7. I agree that creativity is a muscle. Luckily, it can be worked all kinds of ways.

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    1. Yup. The important thing is to find some way to work it out, even if it's tiny.

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  8. I was one of those people who came to writing late in life. In some ways, I wish I had started earlier. Interesting idea about an imagination muscle. I can see how life, family etc. can overtake and your imagination goes into hiding. Glad you're at a stage in your life when you can focus on writing especially as you've written some great cozy mysteries. Keep them coming :-)

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    1. Awww, thanks :)

      I'm drafting #4 right now. Well, not *right* now, because I'm messing around with my blog. But as soon as I'm done procrastinating.

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  9. I've recently started playing piano again after too many years to mention. It's a great release and definitely helps that imagination muscle get a bit of a workout!

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