Creativity is simultaneously a writer's best friend and most dreaded enemy. But why? Are we, as writers, challenged of casual creativity? Are we blind to the bare bones of original brilliance? Do we glue our eyes closed to simple genius?
Finding a writer's muse can often involve gritting teeth, severing of limbs (metaphorically, folks) or jumping off the proverbial cliff and hoping for wings of inspiration. But why must it be so difficult when often hidden wells of creativity lurk inside each of us?
What is the secret?
Lure the muse.
I have discovered that most writers have a number of passions. Seldom does our creativity sequester itself in a solitary cell. Instead, creativity bubbles in many areas of our lives.
Do you garden? Maybe your home is surrounded by flowering perfection, filled with the whispering wings of butterflies or the gentle rush of hummingbirds. Is your garden pots of brightly colored vegetables and lush succulent herbs.
Do you paint? Not necessarily easel canvases. Perhaps, the color on your brush covers bare, boring, beige walls. Perhaps, the tint of walnut, or cherry, or maple fills your brush, sponge or cloth as you breathe new life into old furniture.
Do you cook? Not Iron Chef level, but do you tease your family and friends' taste-buds? Is your house the one with simmering spaghetti sauce that the neighbors always manage to visit?
Are you more than a shower Sinatra? A musical diva - maybe not The Voice quality - but no basement Betty either. Is there music in your soul that finds expression in the piano, the flute, the tuba? Drums with a real beat?
A car/antique/art aficionado? Devotion to beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Others may not pant over a '66 Fastback Corvette, or understand the glories of abstract art . . . but that doesn't make it less a form of creativity that begs for expression.
The final solution?
Free your muse. No reigning in budding brilliance. Use those areas of creativity as the bridge to your writing muse.
Never fear folding in aspects of your creative passions into your characters. Protagonist or secondary - all can benefit from the snippets of those passionate endeavors that fill your home and your hobby time.
Want to follow a new creative dream? Let your character take the ride with you.
From photograph to pottery
From aerial skydiving to aqua-farming
From calligraphy to cave-diving
From Frisbee-golf to foreign languages
Your life is the richer for every extension of your energy and talent.
So, too, will your character benefit from the magical journey.
Free your muse and the writing will follow.