Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.
It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy.
I had mothered nine children and helped run a hobby farm for 30 years without actually sitting down and producing anything except high school or university essay edits for my kids. No that is not a typo; it has been 30 years not months since I had the time to sit with the intention of writing. Naturally when I did stare at a modern keyboard, I froze. For one thing it was not my old manual typewriter that I had pounded on as a poor student but something modern and completely foreign.
I realize now that I really am a story-teller. My oral skills have always been excellent, even as a small child. I delight in the energy and flow of words, dramatic gestures and the relationship with even one listener when I tell one of our legendary stories about the exploits of nine kids on a farm. Yes, my Irish side is alive and well and pushing me to write.
I write to engage with other people, to contribute my voice to issues in our society or to share an insight that might help a fellow human being. I write because no one has the same experiences or the same opinions as I do. I write because I have discovered a voice that is unique, a voice that simply must communicate.
For me the joy mothering has been my call, my vocation and my silent witness to the world for 32 years. Now writing has become the method of expressing that vocation to a world that has largely forgotten the wisdom of mothers and more importantly, the wisdom of children.
I have discovered that just like I like I can form a story as I tell it, now I can create as I type. When an episode or opinion pops into my brain, I did not consciously choose to write about that topic or person. It was an eureka moment, that surprised me. I wonder,
“Where did that thought or memory come from? I haven’t thought about him for years!”
Suddenly an entire story rises up from that one thought because I have assimilated emotions, reflections, connected quotes, philosophy and integrated it all with my faith. Initially my right brain takes over, creativity flows like a river of words. The entire process is largely subconscious. I unwittingly combine a spirit of creativity with a gift to craft words together. Writers in past centuries called it the muse. Left logical brain editing follows afterwards. However, if I attempt to write the first draft with my logical left brain, the article is stilted, boring and painful to read.
I suppose I am not ready to write a masterpiece but I have tasted what it is like to connect to the powerful creative force that flows through all of us. Creativity is addictive. Nothing surpasses the thrill of sitting in front of a blank page or screen with an equally blank mind when an spark deep with me flares up and a story emerges in the middle of the flames. I simply start writing naturally, almost without effort. The words flow as fast as I can type. I do not think; I just type. As Ray Bradbury says,
Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
“I do not plan my fiction any more than I normally plan woodland walks; I follow the path that seems most promising at any given point, not some itinerary decided before entry.”~John Fowles
“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien”
My point is that when anyone begins writing, resist the temptation to imitate other writer’s style. Find your own voice. Write from your heart and soul. Write what you are passionate about and your enthusiasm and joy will open the door to words which connect with your readers. In other words, you will begin the journey to become a great writer