Debunking Creative Myths

unnamed-5In the DIY MFA book (Chapter 6), Gabriela Periera debunks the following five myth about creativity:

1. Creativity is an exclusive club, and you can’t be a part of it.
2. Creativity is innate, you either have it or you don’t.
3. Creativity is driven by chaos, so there is no way to control it.
4. Creativity is all about getting that one “Big Idea.”
5. Creativity is focusing on an idea until it is perfect.

While I recognize each of these myths, none of these seem to resonate with me. At least, none resonated with me at this point in my life.

That is the good news.

Of, course, there has to be bad news.

The myth I seem to struggle with the most is:

Creativity has no place in “real” work.

The definition of creative, according to The Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus (2009) is 1) inventive; imaginative, and 2) able to create.

Nothing in this definition says that creativity can’t be your work. For me, this myth persists.

In the back of my mind, there has always been a distinction. Work was something you did to make money so you could pay bills. Not live, pay bills. Being creative has always been relegated to hobby status.

Perhaps that is why my journey has gone the path that it has.

When searching for the origins of our personal myths – which is a requirement of overcoming them – it is not to place blame. Rather, look at your myths about creativity and decided your truth.

One of the things I’ve discovered is that being creative is an asset in my “work” life. I see it as a strength I’ve found for myself. Creativity as a strength is a truth that debunks one part of the myth.

The other side, well, that one is a work in progress. How does one earn a living through creativity alone?

I am not certain if a person can since life is always about seeking balance. However, if you believe that life is about finding your higher purpose and if that purpose is to be a creative then, you still have to balance that with the business end of life.

I’ve also realized that the basis for all of these myths is fear. For each myth, there is a “what if” question. What if this happens or that? These are all fear based.

Do you ever really get over your fears?

Do you want to get over your fears?

Two very different questions. One is about belief, and one is about desire.

If you answered yes to the second one, then seek the truth in what scares you.

*What is the thing I am really afraid of?
*Is this fear because of an experience or the thought of an experience?
*Do I still need to be afraid?

Fear is one of our most powerful instincts. So powerful, in fact, that we often have little control over certain fears. Our brains and bodies are designed to respond – to keep us safe. If overused, this fear response can create problems which then become difficult to overcome.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Anais Nin

I believe this is appropriate for this discussion. Facing the fear that appears to keep you safe are the same ones keeping you stuck.

You must decide for yourself which is more painful?

What is Your Writer’s Kryptonite?

unnamed-3The question this week is ‘What is your writer’s kryptonite’?

Since last week the question was is your writer’s superpower, I suppose this is a good time to talk about what works against that.

Through Gabriella Pereira’s Writer’s Superpower quiz, I discovered that my superpower is Survivor, someone who overcomes adversity.

Though I’ve always known what my kryptonite is, I still struggle to deal with it.

In writing, the goal is to put your character up a tree and throw stones at them to see how they react. In fact, writers create trauma in their characters. And, if I am writing with a survivor superpower, then, in fact, I am traumatizing an already traumatized character.

Yeah, me!

The interesting thing is that this is what makes a good story.

Which leads into my kryptonite.

FEAR

What is the basis for trauma? It is fear. My superpower and my kryptonite go together well.

Being afraid that something worse is going to happen to us. I tend to be nice to my characters which creates weak writing.

Too often what happens in our real life carries over to the page. It is interesting to me how much my superpower and my kryptonite are connected, and how each of those is connected to real life.

I was curious about fear and went to my trusty “Flip Dictionary” by Barbara Ann Kipfer. If you don’t have this book, it is a good one to have on your bookshelf. The Flip Dictionary won’t necessarily tell you the definition, but it will give you the phrases and the words that subject means

For instance, courage (which was the first word I chose that was opposite fear, though I’m not sure if it truly is) has three entries:

Courage (page 155): audacity, backbone, boldness, braveness, bravery, chin up, daring, etc.

There are nearly 20 words for courage, and that is only the first entry.

There is also a listing for an entry for courage from alcohol and courageous which has nearly as many words as courage itself.

Fear, on the other hand, has almost an entire page. On page 243 of the book, the top half of the page is devoted to types of fear. Did you know that the fear of lawyers is called ipsophobia? The list includes 53 other types of fear.

Also included are 17 entries on fear.

Fear: affright, agitation, alarm, anxiety, apprehension, awe, concern, consternation, dismay, etc.

In light of recent events, fear is a virulent infection throughout our lives.

How can any of this change?

“The only way out is through.”

I’m taking this to be my mantra, probably for the rest of my life. The only way to overcome fear is to face them. Facing your fears is difficult, and I’ve found that when I’ve dealt with one, another, even more, insidious issue takes its place.

So, the mantra. Each day, getting up and facing those things that scare you the most is an act of courage.

dandelion-705660_1280Courage isn’t the opposite of fear, yet they go hand in hand. There is a quote, and I will probably ruin it here but says something like “courage isn’t the absence of fear, courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.”

There is strength in fear, the question is, will that strength be used to stay back and stay safe or will the strength be in finding the courage to push through?

IWSG: It’s Time for the Next Step

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2It’s the first Wednesday of the month and time for another post for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

The past month has been a struggle in all areas of my life, especially my writing. I think I’m trying too hard. I feel as if I have been going 100 miles an hour and finally crashed.

I’m discovering there are a couple of things that make me crash. One is fear of failure and the other, fear of success.

I don’t send my work out a lot but when I do it’s stressful, for me at least. I seem to wait and wait for the inevitable rejection. When it comes, my momentum is lost. I don’t stop writing, but I can’t think creatively for anything. And it takes a long time to send work out again.

Success, or even the hint of success, can do the same thing. All it takes are some words of praise and I am stuck. I can see the path in front of me but can’t stake any steps on it. Isn’t this what I want?

I’ve decided to make August the month I send in my work. I have a couple of flash fictions pieces I like, perhaps even three that are ready or nearly so. The process of submitting work is an interesting one. It is not as simple as sending an email with an attachment. Submission guidelines are a maze of terms to understand, along with polishing the work.

My hope is that I can document this journey through my blog. It’s such a learning experience and I can’t be the only one who struggles with this piece of the writing life.

This is the necessary, though scary, next step. Wish me luck.

Words of wisdom for anyone who is looking to submit their work?