Growing Down to Build Up Your Creativity

030When I was younger, I made large chalk drawings on the road outside my house. The driveway wasn’t enough for me. I didn’t want to be contained — I wanted space and freedom to make huge drawings of faces with gaping mouths and wild hair. I would wear down the chalk until it was as tiny as a pebble in my hand, and then I would wear it down more, my fingertips scraping the pavement.

I was so consumed by the drawing I was making that I was never truly conscious of my location: the road. Although my family lived on a quiet street, I still played in the domain of vehicles. The possible danger of being run over by a car simply never occurred to me. I didn’t worry about the risk I took to make my (what I thought were) amazing chalk drawings by being on the road. I was young, and my creativity stretched further than the confines and safety of the driveway. Continue reading

The Mysterious Story Unsolved

Today I made the mistake of rejecting the ideas of a creative mind.

My friend and I were taking the bus back to the University after a lunch break, and he suggested we take the bus in the direction away from the University, to experience a quick tour through a part of the city neither of us had been in before. The extended route wasn’t that long — it would take maybe only ten minutes more than the bus that could take us directly to the University. I refused to take the longer route with him, and we both ended up taking the usual bus back to class.

I told myself later that I had said no to his idea because I wanted to hurry back and get some reading done, and that I really didn’t like riding buses in general, so the less time spent on them the better, but these were just excuses. The truth was I didn’t want to break my pattern, and I was unwilling to expend the extra energy to explore. I like to define myself as being naturally drawn to adventure and creativity, and yet I was too afraid and content to simply take a new bus route. Continue reading

When Thinking of Whether Creativity is Worth the Risk…

This quotation is perhaps overused, but that is only because it is so inspiring and true. When I lose drive, Steve Jobs is one of my core motivators. If you haven’t watched his Stanford Graduation speech, I highly recommend that you do so. Remember: it is always better to struggle at what you love than to be bored and comfortable doing something that makes you miserable. The risk is worth it.

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Five Reasons to Write by Candlelight

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Writing by candlelight has always been my favourite way to write. I am lucky to have the perfect location for it, on the third floor of my grandma’s ancient home, at a large wooden desk set by the window. Most are not fortunate enough to have this kind of arrangement, but it hardly makes a difference. Candlelight has the ability to make even the most dreary location beautiful. Here are five reasons why you should be writing by candlelight: Continue reading

The Emotional Conquest of Creativity — Part 2: Dealing with Rejection

snoopy1Rejection is harrowing in all areas of life. In writing it is the same, it just occurs more often.

When Stephen King first began seriously writing and sending his story manuscripts to various publishers, he pinned his rejection slips on a nail in the wall of his bedroom. After years of the same process, the nail bent under the weight of the rejections, so he replaced it with a spike. Even while looking at the mound of rejections pinned to his wall every day, he didn’t stop writing. His only sentiment that serves as a partial explanation for the vicious force with which he wrote in his teenage years was, “when you’re too young to shave, optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure” (On Writing). Continue reading

The Emotional Conquest of Creativity — Part 1: The Insanity Complex

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Bryan Charnley’s self-portrait, an artistic representation of his schizophrenia.

There is nothing more depressing to a writer than to believe that in order to be truly creative he or she must be depressed. At the very least, society proclaims, he or she must be dubbed insane, although “insanity” can range in definition from the extreme and clinical illness of schizophrenia to the simple act of stepping outside of social norms. Someone who is insane is commonly described as having lost touch with reality, but again, “reality” is such a vaguely defined and understood term that it is only natural to wonder if in certain cases insanity creates, or allows for, a creative and intellectual clarity.

Continue reading