It gives me a lot of pleasure to encourage people to be creative. I want others to find the freedom and joy in expression that I’ve found. As I have always been fascinated by art, music and writing, I’ve tried them all. This has allowed me to experience reading, listening to music, looking at art on a deeper level. Want to know how hard it is to write a novel? Write one yourself, the same for playing an instrument and the visual arts.
I think anyone can do this, we’re just not allowed to be bad at something long enough to get good at it. As a child I loved drawing and painting but—I couldn’t draw a house or a person like the kids who were ‘good’ at art—so I gave it up. It was imprinted on me, “You are not an artist.” I repeated that for years until I hit my late thirties and was writing my novel. When I got writer’s block, I started doing art, not caring if I was any good because, “I’m a writer, not an artist.” The art inspired the writing, as did playing the piano. Creativity is not limited to one genre, just check out Margaret Atwood and Joni Mitchell for genius level examples.
One thing I hear from many people is, “I don’t have any inspiration.” I’ve said it myself but now it’s not an excuse. Inspiration isn’t a Magic Fairy who appears and illuminates one. Inspiration requires suspension of that culturally programmed brain that’s always telling you what you can’t do. Inspiration requires work.
Whenever I sit down to work on my Clyde series, I’m not experiencing inspiration. My internal dialogue goes like this, every single time. “I don’t want to do another Clyde. I have no ideas. I can’t.” But I pick up the pen and start drawing. Eventually a shape takes form, then an idea for the writing and suddenly I’m excited and joyful. I push through doubt and find....INSPIRATION.
Here is a painting I did titled, “Creating Neural Pathways”.
This is how I feel about inspiration, it must be created, the neural pathways formed, the doubts and anxiety about being good enough eliminated. We are all creators conditioned to doubt ourselves. One might as well try.
Sylvia Van Nooten is an asemic artist and visual poet but once she was a writer of fiction. Way back in the late nineties she wrote a novel and it almost made it. Jonathan Franzen’s agent read it and expressed interest, she sent some ideas for a rewrite. But that novel-- titled Brain Music--which today sits in a cardboard box in Sylvia’s basement, got her started doing art because of writer’s block. Writer’s block, particularly for writer’s of fiction-without-a-strong-plot, heavy on the beautiful sentences, light on structure---well it’s exhausting. Sylvia took time away from her novel to start playing with oil paints and pastels. Eventually the writer’s block became permanent but the art continues, twenty plus years later.
Great description, Sylvia. Sometimes inspiration happens when we think we're doing something else.ReplyDelete