Are you considering starting a blog as a way to fuel creativity? If so, I’d love to give you my two cents on what blogging can do for you. (And, forgive my conversational, street style of writing here . . . my breaking of many writing rules. It’s intentional. I just wanted to chat with you all a bit.) Blogging has actually more than amply challenged me to be more creative. It’s done this by putting me on the spot to Just Do It!
I knew I wanted to be more creative. I created this blog to force myself to do just that on a weekly basis. In theory, I hoped to become a better writer and I hoped to have a shot at designing a web presence without all the overhead. First, I focused just on the writing. And I sat and waited. Waited. Waited. But, nobody stopped in to see me. Hmmm . . . I was a bit bummed. I realized I did actually want someone to read what I wrote. You’d think that’s obvious when you begin blogging on the Internet. Isn’t that kinda the point? And yet, very often–especially if you arrive on the scene without a plan–you can be incredibly shy with your first postings. You sorta want someone to read it, and are afraid that they will.
Once I accepted that I was going to embrace letting myself be seen, I started reading other posts and noticed how much I enjoyed when someone included an image of some sort with their posting… it just helped me get in the ‘mood’ of their posting. Such a simple thing, but not really. It’s the tough part when it comes to blogging–at least for me, because my goal was to present my words, not examples of my photos, or art or other things visual. Seeking images to attach to my postings brought up a slew of questions. What should I include? Where the heck can I find it? Is it free or do I have to pay for the privilege to use the image? What’s a copyright? How big should the image be? Captions? Alternate text? The list goes on. There is so much you need to learn once you decide you want to ‘pretty up’ your page. Yep, between the writing challenges and the blog-layout challenges, blogging has ABSOLUTELY—WITHOUT QUESTION–been helping me keep the creative flame alive.
Beyond that, it’s been teaching me things I’d better get used to if I intend to move forward on a creative path. Exposure and Rejection. When I think on it, many, many moons ago when I was graduating High School and considering pursuing my strong interest in the arts in college, I gingerly stepped back in my tracks for fear of exposing my ‘self’ through my work and, more importantly, being judged on what I would create. You see, what I had at the time was skill. I could–with a reasonable amount of effort–recreate very well what I saw (whether painting, sewing, crafts, playing guitar, etc.) but I hadn’t yet tapped into creating my OWN, unique work. I didn’t have the stomach to find out if I was ‘any good.’
I had this idea that if I wasn’t a shining creative star, then I was crap. And I knew some shining creative stars. How many out there know what I’m talking about? There is nothing quicker to squash your creative soul than to compare yourself to someone else. What a shame that is and an utter waste of potential talent, and really, of life itself.
Back in High School, my mother saw in me something that has always remained with me–the fire of a creative soul. I was always trying to express myself but was frustrated by my own inhibitions. I also was always reminding myself who was better than me. I could kick myself in the arse today–many, many decades after High School–that I didn’t listen to my mother and just try. These days Mom likes to remind me that anyone can be a shining star, that plenty of people pick up on a skill or talent in the later years of their life, never knowing they had it in them. I pondered that for some time, wondering how many people are out there who’ve had no exposure to the things in which they might actually excel–especially those born into a life of poverty or suffering. How many spirits are wasting away, simply because they’ve never fed their creative souls?
If you’re lucky enough to live long enough, you might also be lucky enough to vow to yourself to finally get it right. The way I see it, anything I’ve ever been envious of in another person is something I should pursue myself. I’ve envied musicians their ability to touch my soul. I’ve envied artists their ability to create their own vision of the world around them. And, in the past several years, I’ve been envying writers their ability to spin a phrase or stir a soul.
So, here is the wisdom that comes from this creative soul after decades upon decades of playing it safe: when I realize I’m envious of another’s ability, I’m putting it on my list of what I ought to be doing with my free time. For me, it seems to be all the creative stuff. And that’s another thing about blogging. Once you ‘put it out there,’ you sorta have to do it.
And that’s my two cents.
Has anything held you back from being more creative? If yes, what exactly? What creative endeavors have you passed up on in your life? What, if anything, are you gonna do about it?