A Rant on the Creative Process


Snuggled on my bed for an afternoon of writing with a view out the bedroom window

Once, way back when, a charismatic, rather aloof boss of mine had expected me to give a quick 10 min brief to a small crowd on a certain project--I’ll spare you the boring details of this project--but my boss had failed to mention this little public speaking chore to me, and it was only minutes before the meeting did he slyly alert me of this special task.

I’m quite certain all my introverted friends are currently thinking, well surely you arrive prepared to every meeting with a little something or other to suggest, ask, participate in the meeting in case you’re unexpectedly called upon.

Now is a great time to reveal to you that I’m, well, yes, I’m an extrovert. And, as a true extrovert, I love to wing it. Oh but I’m terrible at it. I really ought to take notes from my clever introverted friends.

Ignoring my protests, my boss said with a good-ole-boy pat on my back, “You’re a writer, Jords. You’re good with words. You’ll do fine.”

Oh dear, if only public speaking, confrontational speaking, conversing in general were at all like writing, I’d be a kinder, funnier, cleverer friend indeed--and I suppose there would be a lot of long pauses and back spaces as well.

I actually have to work hard to find the right words, even (especially) as a writer. When I’m writing, it takes me an embarrassingly long time (weeks sometimes) to really find the right set of words to articulate my feelings about such and such. And even then, I still often wish I could go back through and make some more clarifying edits after publication. I suppose I ought to learn to just shrug and say “oh well; it’s okay to grow and change my mind" (more on that topic in future weeks).

Drawing from the 50 Ways to Draw Your Ordinary Beautiful Life, garden shelf

I remember having a conversation with a dear friend of mine, Bonnie, about writing and why we even bother with this beautifully fantastic frustrating craft. [I’ll be honest, Bonnie is one of the few people I know that in casual conversation speaks splendidly, elegantly, and distinctly.]

We discussed and exchanged our compulsion to write, determining it is only once we’ve written our tangled thoughts down that we actually begin to unravel our knotted feelings and realize how and what we feel. Writing liberates the cloudy burdens we can’t seem to work out and move through.

I’m obsessively curious about creatives and their process, especially The Writer. I’m specifically obsessed with the whys and whos of it all. Professionals will tell you they write for an audience, of course. Passionates will share that creating is purely a selfish endeavor; obey the muse.

I’m caught in between the two, never really excelling at either. The beginning starts with a selfish need to untangle those thoughts and feelings. Writing is my favorite remedy to confusion and uncertainty. The editing process, however, has only you in mind. This isn't entirely about self-expression; it's about you and a deep hope to aid the loneliness you might find yourself feeling one day.

This knowledge, knowing my process, helps secure an energy for creating, allowing certain freedoms within purpose. This process gives me permission to start with purely selfish needs (which I find feeling guilty about sometimes if I’m honest), and then I shift to you. To love my readers well is my ultimate goal in editing. I want this work to be valuable to you, communicate with you. I don’t always hit it out of the park, hence learning in public, but when I do, I’m so grateful for the community in words, literature, art, expression.

As I continue to learn in public and begin to study the art of storytelling, this next month I’ll explore a few different mediums of storytelling: poems, more drawing, prose, and a neglected love affair with adjectives.

I’ll continue to share the lessons I’ve learned whilst drawing in my little textbook and scribbling for the Arbor Fall Festival, specifically on focus, on process, and some beginner tips on using Adobe.

If you're new here, this is lucky number seven in the Learning in Public series, in which I take you along as I learn to draw and storytell. Here is the first of many.

Our days are getting shorter and mornings a bit colder. Wishing you a pleasant and grateful start to your holiday season.