I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about creativity versus consumption. I’d noticed one day that it had been a very, very long time since I’d used my laptop’s keyboard for anything but typing in URLs and searching B&N for book titles. So long, in fact, that I didn’t quite remember the last time I’d created something.
I’ve done a few tiny clay sculptures in the last few months, and a couple of knitting or crochet projects, but that was all. Was I suddenly just a mass consumer? Didn’t I feel the drive to *create* anything anymore?
The truth is, I do still feel that drive to write, to create worlds that didn’t exist anywhere else but inside my head before I put them down on paper. I tried chalking my non-efforts up to work-inspired exhaustion — but I was finding plenty of time to scroll through Tumblr and catch up on cat pictures.
Maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a writer anymore. Maybe creating with words was NOT my calling. Maybe I needed to try to focus on something else.
And then I smacked myself on the head.
I don’t WANT to focus on something else. I want WORDS. I want to give someone else the same thrill I got when I first visited Pern and Riva and Narnia and a thousand other places. I. Am. A. Writer.
Except… A writer who does not write is not really a writer. My words were stalled, stunted, stilted. Stopped. Had I transformed myself into purely a consumer by not putting effort into creation? Had I given up my gift?
Then I realized that those were the thoughts of a Speshul Snowflake and they did not belong in my head. It is okay to be a consumer. I came to the conclusion that there is a Consumption~Creation spectrum and that, while all people are on it to some degree, it just takes effort to climb closer to the Creation end of things. Effort that I have not been putting in.
Even my reviews have fallen by the wayside, because I found they were no longer fun. It had become less about my sharing a love of stories and more about checking new releases off of a “to read” list. It was a job and not a passion. The results of that line of thought, however, are a different blog post.
Today I want to tell you that I haven’t given up. I turned around and suddenly I was in my thirties and I had made no real effort to achieve my dreams. I had played at it, certainly, but I had not truly tried.
Why not? Because I was afraid. I am still afraid. I am terrified that I do not have the talent to truly be a writer. I didn’t even want to face that fact enough to even write that sentence, my dear reader, but it is TRUE. I have let fear and anxiety smash down nearly all aspects of my creativity. I have been reduced to a puddled mess of a girl. Even more terrifying than trying and failing, is trying and BEING SEEN.
I have wasted so much of my life trying to be recognized but remain invisible. I wanted to be unique but without that risk of being witnessed in my failure that trying requires. Well, no longer. I am a quivering wreck just writing this, dear friends, but I am nothing if not stubborn. I am stubborn in my blood and pigheaded in my bones.
I will try. I will most assuredly fail at some point, and have to pick myself up and dust myself off, and try to wipe the shame from my cheeks. There is no embarrassment in not having an urge toward creation, but there certainly is in knowing that you do and fearing to try.
We are no closer to our own Creator and to the joys of the universe than when we make something. I am sick of being an empty shell.
If you would like to join me, now is the time. November is National Novel Writing Month (http://nanowrimo.org). I am already hip deep in planning this year’s novel as we speak. It’s a death metal, girl power version of Scooby Doo where the monsters are real. I can’t wait to write it.