I’ve thought a lot about creativity for the last several months–where it comes from, where it goes when it’s gone, why it goes. A while ago, I wrote about inspiration and how waiting for inspiration is a exercise in futility. You have to park your ass in that seat and write–or in or in front of whatever thing you park your ass in or in front of when you create. There is something to that, sure. And maybe I’m not talking about inspiration at all.
So let’s get this out of the way first: If you’re going to be a writer, you have to write. I’ve come to grips with that part of it. You can’t necessarily wait for the inspiration fairy to flutter down and grace you with an idea. However, the impulse–the drive–to create something is very different. When I don’t have an idea at all for a new story, there is still something in me that wants to create art. There has always been something in me that wants to write stories and share them with other people. That thing doesn’t go away when inspiration dries up. So there it is–two different things that make being an artist a little maddening. On some level, we all have the desire to put things into the world. And then we have to walk the line between waiting for something to come to us and forcing ourselves to work.
Lately, I’ve been calling this drive the creative impulse. It’s something I’ve spoken about at colleges and bookstores during the tour for A Year Since the Rain. It’s something I’m still curious about–curious enough to write my next novel about how different artists work through that process.
I wonder where it comes from. We’ve already decided inspiration is a weird thing that comes from everywhere and nowhere. But what is it that makes this person over here want to write a story or paint a painting or play a song? And is it missing from that person over there who wants nothing to do with it.
I’m sure psychologists (ahem) would tell me it’s a difference in how we are wired, or in how we were raised, or any number of other things. And certainly, that’s all probably true.
And if I can ramble just a bit more–once we’ve created, why do we want others to experience it? I think the actual creation part of the process is probably the part that makes the most sense to me. But I have absolutely no idea what it is inside of me that wants to share that creation with as many people as possible. It’s pretty audacious of us, isn’t it?
I guess I’m writing all of this to say that it’s back–my creative drive, my inspiration. I’ve popped the cork on a part of my soul that had been closed off, and I’m finally writing again.
Where do you think it all comes from? Why do you want to create? Why do you want to share it? Let’s talk about it in the comments.