By Jennifer Goble
Holiday activities seem to activate creativity. Searching for new recipes, decorating the house inside and out, and finding unsuspecting hiding places for unwrapped gifts, are a few examples.
I recently participated in an Art Chair fundraiser. I painted my chair using my best skills, and proudly took it to the community center before the two day silent auction began. Creativity illuminated the room and engulfed me. As I admired other donations, I could not help but compare the array of painted chairs to authors and writing styles.
The art chairs were visual and emotional expressions of the artists, just as words are to an author.
What struck me the most in the large room of chairs was the overt creativity. It challenged me to wonder if my writing resembled a picture in a coloring book where staying within the lines was complemented by the teachers, or if it was like the chairs I admired, free and expressive?
A person looking at my chair, said, “Whoa, you must be a perfectionist.” Hopefully it was intended as a complement, but it stung. “You really captured it,” or, “What an unique style,” would have felt better.
Is my writing perfect or interesting? Correct or exciting? Flawless or riveting? Exemplary or profound? Is one sacrificed for the other? The most feared critique is perfect and boring. Do I lose myself in what I write or find myself in scenes, characters, and stories. Do I relay my authentic self,or only information and opinion?
The challenge for me in writing and painting, is to release myself; to not be bound by other’s expectations, approval, or disappointment. Whatever I choose to create, the finished product is better if I allowed myself to color outside the lines. I can read the masters and learn from them, but I want my writing to be creatively me.
My standard for writing includes correctness, but the art chairs helped me realize imagination and personal expression is vital and valid.
Writing or painting what others want is good, especially if we want them to buy our creations. But I cannot think of one great author who did not have the courage to be different, authentic, and uniquely creative.
We might be confining ourselves unnecessarily to our own disadvantage if we do not color outside the lines.
How creatively do you write?
What freedom do you allow yourself?
Until the next time: Live while you live!