Creating is about letting your imagination run free, following those ideas and bringing them into life through your artwork as best you can.
But all too often we expect to have every detail of a new project thought out precisely before we even begin to get our teeth into creating. This instantly puts pressure and limitations on our creativity. It’s the equivalent of tying someone’s arms and legs together and telling them to go and dance freely!
Let’s consider an example to illustrate this.
Say you’re a writer, and you have an idea for a story, about a young woman’s journey through Eastern Europe and her quest to find her ancestors’ origins. Now you might begin with just this much as your initial idea.
As you ponder the next step, you might add a few extra details. Maybe she’s joined along the way by a boy who’s lost his family and offers to be her guide and companion. Maybe her conquest takes her to completely different parts of Europe than she expected. Maybe she discovers her grandfather had nothing like the impoverished background she thought and was actually of Royal descent.
All this unfolds as you think about your story, and as you write. It can’t all be in place at the beginning. As you write your adventure, and as your leading lady explores her heritage, so you explore with her. Writing about her adventure is as much a journey for you as a writer as it is for your character.
You don’t know what will happen next or where the story will lead. And that’s the excitement and the fun of writing!
Imagine instead trying to write your story having planned every single aspect in great detail first. On page 35 Melissa will meet her future guide, the young boy. On page 37 she will ask him how his parents died. On page 145 they’ll cross the bridge she remembers coming to as a young child herself. On page 235 they’ll stop for an improvised meal by the banks of the river, and talk about what they hope to learn by the end of the journey. Melissa will be wearing a white shirt, pale blue skirt, brown leather shoes and her hair will be plaited.
All of these kind of details may well occur as the adventure unfurls. But if you try to plan them perfectly, it only restricts your creativity. It limits your story from going off on unexpected tangents. It prevents you as the author from exploring the other good ideas that are bound to arise as the story unfolds.
If you’ve already decided every element, every act of your story, when and where it will happen and exactly what everyone will be wearing, saying and thinking, you’ve pretty much shut your creativity down before it’s got going.
Remember, your creativity is ever switched on and can take you down unexpected trails at a moment’s notice. That’s what makes it interesting, that’s why you create.
Would you want to read a novel, knowing exactly what’s going to happen at each key stage before hand? Of course not. What would be the point of reading? The same applies to writing, or any other creative form. Give your creativity the space it needs to breathe and the permission to do what it does best – create what wasn’t there before.
It’s only when you give yourself this permission that your creativity can truly dance. Without all its arms and legs tied together!
So what steps can you take to allow your creativity more freedom in your next project? How can you let of go of your expected outcome and let your own creative adventure lead you where it wants to go? Choose a project and set your newly freed creativity dancing right away!
About The Author:
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