I’ve been writing for most of my life. It’s the medium of creation that clicks with me and helps me parse through the ideas and thoughts and feelings in my head. But sometimes, the forces of life can suck the energy right out of you and destroy your will to create anything of real value.
At times, the more parameters set upon your writing projects by third-party forces, the more difficult it can be to get creative in a meaningful way. This is not to say that deadlines or structure or editors are unimportant to creation. However, writing in different spaces with different rules at play can be a refreshing experience for those that feel they’ve been pulled into the grind.
I know for myself that it’s nice to rediscover the joy of just creating something, to take a moment to focus on playing gracefully with a new idea. It doesn’t really matter how bad the idea is. As long as you just try your hardest and completely cast out any care in the world as to whether it’s good or not until you’re done. Even then, does it always have to matter?
One of my heroes, Kurt Vonnegut, authored several amazing works such as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat’s Cradle, and a ton of short stories, The Euphio Question being my favorite (Mr. McCallum, my journalism teacher in high school gets the credit of introduction).
Like all great and successful writers of our time and times past, Vonnegut was always thinking about why humans did anything, how they ticked, what made them feel angry, happy, fulfilled, and empty. And Vonnegut had rules for himself when it came to writing. One of his rules, intertwined hilariously with the idea of purposely upsetting one’s parents, says a lot about what a writer should really be after.
“Go into the arts,” Vonnegut says. “I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward… You will have created something.”
Though I’m not sure Vonnegut, an author, truly disbelieved the arts’ potential as a fruitful career, his point is this: writing just to create a story, painting just to create art, this is the reasoning that allows for an environment in which a creator’s soul can truly blossom and flourish.
I like to think that we all have an image of the best versions of ourselves. Maybe there is a best version of you at work or a best version of you with family and friends. Giving yourself the opportunity to be aware of yourself and to create something, anything from what you find inside of you might just help elevate your skills and perhaps your enjoyment life in a general sense.