I always get a kick out of subscribing to emails that tell me how to boost my creativity. When I was younger, I never thought I had any. In art class, I drew the eyes where the forehead should be. Half-completed craft projects litter our house, adding nothing to the decor. I started them years ago but will never finish them because I finally admitted to myself that I loathe sewing. I still pick up a crochet hook now and then because an afghan is DESIGNED to have holes in it, right?
What was my talent as a kid? I was an awesome daydreamer. I could pivot in milliseconds from staring out the school window to answering a question. (Thank you, subconscious memory!) But the teacher sometimes announced tomorrow’s quiz in the middle of a daydream so fascinating that even my subconscious ignored her. At home, the pot of potatoes boiled over every time I “helped” with dinner. My mother didn’t let me cross the street until I was in high school because she worried that I’d step in front of a car. (Slight exaggeration—it was probably junior high.) Daydreaming seemed a curse, not a talent.
How long before I realized that the imagination that powered my daydreams was crucial to my science job and the novels I wrote as a hobby? When did I grasp that problem-solving and writing are both types of creativity? Sure, no one will ever gasp at the beauty of my experimental design. My words won’t keep anyone warm, unless that person burns the pages containing them—which wouldn’t make me happy, to be honest.
Yet now that I’ve accepted that I’m creative, I still worry that writing is selfish. Most artistic folks I know give away their afghans and quilts, act in community theaters, or sing in the church choir. I write alone in my home office. Sure, I plan to publish someday, but novels take FOREVER to finish. Is it worth spending all this time on one book?
Maybe I need to use my imagination to reframe this issue. How’s this? My writing keeps me from producing a steady stream of poorly sewn, knitted, crocheted, embroidered, woven, painted, or sketched projects I will then send to my unfortunate friends, relatives, acquaintances, and other innocent bystanders as gifts. (What do you mean by the term, “clashing colors?” I don’t understand.) In fact, thinking about it, it’s clearly my duty to humankind to keep putting words onto paper. The world even owes me a huge thank you!
And if you really want to show your gratitude? Do you know anyone I can hire to finish half-done craft projects?
If you like funny stories about writing, check out some of my previous blog posts: Ergonomic Chairs for the Small! Is It Possible to Look Great on Zoom? The Rewriting Process: When is it time to stop?