It’s Called Creative Writing For a Reason
A few weeks ago, I was at my high school reunion and speaking to a very talented girl who has gone into fashion since we graduated. I’ve stalked her on Facebook many times and stared at my computer screen in awe – she makes things with her hands, and here I am, barely able to put together an Ikea bookshelf without somebody else’s help. I said to her, “I’m so jealous. I wish I was creative.”
Everyone around us kind of glared at me for a moment and hurried to remind me, “You’re a writer!” My best friend said that I must have been “fishing for compliments.”
I suppose, from where I stand, writing doesn’t always feel like an obviously creative process. Yes, it’s literally a process of creation, but I often find it to be a painful one. Finding the right story and the right words is a challenging experience, and it often feels like you’re dredging up parts of you that you’re certain do exist somewhere, if only you could figure out how to access those feelings and put them into words.
Have you ever noticed the fad of celebrities writing books? It makes me chuckle every time, watching or reading in the press when these people all end up saying the same thing – “I didn’t think writing a book was going to be so hard.” It makes me laugh. What, then, did they think it would be?
Personally, I could never call writing fun. I’ve found writing to be a cathartic tool, something I do in order to put into words what I otherwise might never be able to. At other times, when the hint of an idea inspires me and I sit down to write, I find that I spend most of the time searching for the right way to tell the story around this one, small slip of an idea.
If you’ve been reading my blogs throughout October, you’ll notice the self-loathing that, for me, is just part of being a writer. It’s just who I am – I will never be the kind of writer that sits down at my desk and feels like I’ve struck gold, like I’ve got an incredible idea pouring out of me that will undoubtedly touch lots of people when it inevitably goes into print.
By writing for Margaret River Press this month, I think I’ve learnt that a part-way cure to this self-doubt is remembering that it’s called “creative writing” for a reason. It’s liberal space for us to create and play and ultimately, just exist the way we feel we need to for the time in which we write, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.