Why a year of living creatively?
I’m guessing that, as you’re here, you may be thinking of beginning some creative endeavour. You might be thinking of writing a novel, taking up painting, having a go at poetry, maybe song-writing or ceramic art.
Whatever your creative endeavour is, I can guarantee one thing. You’re feeling a little scared.
Creating something feels dangerous. It feels as though we’re taking a risk, and so, we encounter fear. Fear of failure, fear of laying ourself bare, fear of criticism. All of these feelings are natural and understandable. However, thousands of artists, writers, poets and musicians create every day. So how do they do it? How do we get past the fear and live more creatively?
I write fiction and I play bass in a band, so I already create to some extent. So why the need to be more creative? Although I continue to write fiction and my writing is tighter, better than it has ever been and the music is going well, I feel an edge of constraint to my creativity has crept in. I’m less experimental, less free than I used to be. It’s as though now I am better at understanding the rules of my creative endeavours, I am constrained by them.
This year, I’m going to attempt to free up that creativity and live more creatively as a result. This year I want to rediscover the flow and joy of the first draft and make more writing, more art, more music. I’m going to share it all via this blog because I want others to join me on the journey. That’s right—I want you to participate in the same adventures and I want you to let me know how you get on. I think we can learn from each other. After all, creativity does not exist in a vacuum.
As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi states in Creativity—the psychology of discovery and invention (Harper Perennial 1997) individual creativity is only
‘a link in a chain, a phase in a process. To say that Thomas Edison invented electricity or Albert Einstein discovered relativity is a convenient simplification.’
All of us require an intellectual and social network to stimulate our thinking, to feed and reflect upon our creativity. There’s no getting around this—we need to get out of the garret. We are more creative together.
Therefore, I’m going to try something new each week. It might be a new tool or technique to open up my creativity. It could be anything from the sensible and sublime to the chaotic and crazy. I’m going to draw upon the experiences of other creative people (living and dead), philosophy, science and psychology, ancient (and not so ancient) western and eastern traditions.
Each week I will share with you what I’m trying to do and I’ll also share the experiences, emotions and thoughts that the week brings.
So that’s it…why don’t you come along for the ride? Whether you’re a novice or a novelist, I think you might learn something about being more creative too.
Come join me in a year of living creatively!