Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Creativity Equals Fearlessness?

Once when I was talking about my novel Sister India at a book club, one of the members made a comment about days when she feels creative.

I thought to myself: Feel creative? What's that like?

I take a rather workaday approach to writing: come into office, sit down at computer, write. There's no special feeling involved.

But today, I have to say, I think I felt what she was talking about. Maybe. What I realized was that I had no sense of dread or hesitation about taking on anything. I felt fairly confident I could do it well enough, whatever it was. (We're not talking about curing cancer, instead about writing paragraphs.)

Many days I start in again on a project in spite of a nettlesome grain of doubt, a feel of driving with the brake on. Once I'm working that goes away. Today it wasn't there at all, don't know why. But the absence of it, I have to say, felt creative. I'd like to work that way every day.

What's your experience? Is this kind of hesitation familiar? Do you simply force yourself past it, as I so often do? Or do you sail into your most challenging work with full glee?

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Mojo said...

"Driving with the brake on"... that's a wonderful metaphor. I usually call it "fighting the puck", but only a hockey fan would understand that analogy. Yours works for anybody.

I push through days like that, but I usually find myself going back on a better day and fixing a lot of what I did while I was "driving with the brake on".

Peggy Payne said...

For me the reverse is often true, Mojo. I find myself doing some of my better stuff on days when it's hard to do it at all.

Fighting the puck has a nice ring to it, even for a non-hockey person.

Anonymous said...

Driving with the brake on - that does describe it nicely. I tend to look at it as having a wild beast on the end of a heavy chain. It's getting the chain on it to be able to control it - that's the hard part!

Peggy Payne said...

A wild beast! I assume that's the fear. Interesting that we deal with it through metaphors, and such diverse and vivid ones.

There's considerable energy contained in all three, which would be nice to have available for other uses. That's how I feel anyway: that the fear management burns up a lot of gas.

Mojo said...

I find that in a lot of cases once I've done something -- no matter how small it might seem -- it breaks the stasis and I'm able to get things rolling. But as Anonymous pointed out, getting that first move made can be the biggest challenge.

Peggy Payne said...

One night I was feeling depressed and my husband said: why don't you clean out the magazine basket? I did it. And miraculously then felt better and could take on most anything.

Amazing how getting moving and accomplishing one little thing can help.