What does being creative mean to me? When in my life has creative expression saved me?
When I was a little girl, I spent hours at the dining room table writing and illustrating stories. I can’t recall the story lines and wish I had a copy of these masterpieces today. I am sure they reflected the simplicity of my life, but the wildness of my imagination.
When I was a little older, my friend and I created magazines similar to the ones we read, like YM and Seventeen. We divided up the columns and where we didn’t have the facts to support a story (like what Johnny Depp was up to) we made it up! This was not only fun, but it gave us a way to focus our time and energy in understanding how to make something appear from nothing.
And as a teen, writing poetry allowed me to work through the difficult challenges to identity and security that comes as you grow into adulthood. It never mattered how good those poems were, but always mattered that I expressed my feelings in creative ways so I could better understand them.
Now I see how creative writing allows me to play with the simplicity of life, to make something appear from nothing, and to explore and express complicated emotions that might otherwise stagnate me in my days. When I am writing to reflect, writing to understand or writing to make something appear, I am in touch with an essential part of myself – the part that wants to connect with others and with myself through the satisfaction of creation.
I have written my way through tough times: overcome with depression and anxiety after the birth of my first child, I wrote blog posts about what I was experiencing. Even as nothing else in my brain seemed to be working, my need to document what was happening to me became almost primitive. Some of what I wrote then is shockingly clear, other bits less so. But it doesn’t matter, that process was about working through what was happening to me, and getting it out of my own being so it could be better understood.
There are many reasons that we create: the satisfaction of making something from nothing, the utility of having something new, sometimes to make money off of our own creative skill, to connect with something greater than ourselves and to experience the pride and satisfaction that comes from accessing a bit of our genius.
Why do you create?
There have been times in my life when I have not been an active creative writer. I mourn those times of lost productivity. I think I became busy, and forgot what was important to me. I think I became discouraged, and forgot that what was on the page was less important that being on the page. And maybe I just no longer believed in the essential practice and reward my writing brings me. Now I know that the times in my life when I am a creative writer, I am more in touch with my emotions, I am a more complicated person, and I am working each time I sit down to write to perfect my offering to the world. I know I am a more sensitive parent, feeling fulfillment in the quiet moments of writing. I know I am a better friend.
Living a creative life is as essential as breathing and eating. We need to express what is inside of us, to get it out, so we can process, delight, entertain and educate – ourselves and others. This is why I am committed to living a creative life, and why the mission of Hello Creative Family – creative parents raise creative kids – is so important to me.
I am excited to renew my commitment to the art of creative expression and to bring you more great stories in this space. We have been creating this series – Creative Voices – for some time, but starting now it will take on a new commitment. Each week we will feature the story of one of our contributors and guest contributors. This story will address a main theme of the month – from writing for healing, to sibling rivalry. We will feature the creative essays of writers searching for meaning in their work, while bringing beauty and story to others. These essays on parenthood and life form the centre of our commitment in this space to encouraging people to think about creative writing when they think about getting creative.
Do you have a creative voice? Are you excited to share a personal essay in this space? Write to us to learn more about our upcoming themes and how you can be featured here. Learn more.
And if you want to work on your writing skill, in a friendly, supportive environment, sign up for our upcoming writing workshop. Hello Creative Family has partnered with Her Story Media to bring you a life-changing writing workshop by Taslim Jaffer: Write Your Story, Heal Your Story. Taslim will be talking about using writing for healing, and she’ll share tips on how to better your writing. The workshop is online, and takes place on June 14th. Sign up here.