How Creative Are You?

 

From a very young age, and well into my adult years, I didn’t think I was creative. I wasn’t into craftsy things. My efforts to sew my clothes did not go well, and my knitting products were a mixed bag. At one point I wrote poems on my parents’ Royal typewriter. I wrote one poem about a bull, and have no memory of what I wrote, but at the time I had apparently mixed up bulls and cows. My parents were amused and explained the difference. I felt embarrassed by my mistake, and for a while I stopped writing poems.

But writing seemed to call to me. I certainly loved to read the writing of others. Most of my writing efforts were pretty straightforward. I’ve always been a left-brained, linear thinker, so that’s how I wrote. My writing is workman quality.

In high school I took a creative writing course. I wrote about a murder that had happened next door to us; the man had murdered his wife with a knife. I hadn’t witnessed the act, nor seen the results, but my brother had entered the house afterward and was devastated. The children were bewildered and lost. I wrote about their reaction. The piece was put in our annual creative writing magazine. But I considered the acceptance as a fluke; I still didn’t see myself as creative.

During my college years. I was an English major, and received a “D” on my first paper. I was embarrassed and confused. So I asked the instructor if I could meet with him—not to accuse him of under-grading me, but to find out what had gone wrong. He was very kind and supportive, and I don’t remember his advice, but I suspect that I applied it to all my future papers, as well as to essays I wrote for other classes. It was a turning point of sorts. (As a side note, I switched to a major in history.) But I still didn’t think I was creative, and told people that they couldn’t count on me for creative ideas.

As a business woman, I wrote various articles that were published in human resource publications, police publications and other small magazines. By reproducing them they became marketing tools for my business. They were well-received, but I still didn’t think I was creative. These articles were, after all, practical pieces.

I was moved to write a book on religion. (The author listed is another Susan Quinn; I’ve written to Amazon.) This book was a turning point for me. I was now a genuine author! I began to think that I might be creative after all. I was also asked to provide an essay on forgiveness for a leadership book. Maybe people were taking me seriously. (Have you noticed what a hard sell I am?)

Then I found Ricochet. I fell in love—with writing, with getting feedback, with engaging in dialogue on important issues. And another writer on Ricochet, @iwe, asked me to partner on books on Judaism—me, a returning Jew.

I was finally convinced I was creative.

Recently the topic of creative acts has come up in my writing with @iwe: what does it mean to be a human being who continues G-d’s original act of creation? @iwe believes that when we create something completely new, something that G-d has not already created, we are following in G-d’s path; I agree with him. We also think, however, that creativity is a process. That we may be creative in many different ways, and when we work to be creative, the more creative we become. Some people seem to have the temperament for creativity; others (like me) have to work at it, pursue it regularly, refine it, and keep trying. I believe that G-d is happy when I write, especially with Him in mind, but am I continuing His original creation?

So I have a bunch of questions for you—do you see yourself as creative? How do you express your creativity and in what arenas? And do you see your role in continuing G-d’s creation?

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: my knitting products were a mixed bag

    How about a photo of the mixed bag?

    I discarded it LONG AGO. Too many bad memories . . .

    • #91
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Ah, yes, in between comments . . . ;-)

    I have edited over a hundred pages and written two today. I figure I’m doing alright.

    Awesome! Well done! You’re doing great!

    I did a quick check – 7 chapters yesterday. Gonna do more today, but we have a workman coming over to fix our upstairs AC (#$%&$#%$#!).

    You both are clearly excellent multi-taskers! I’m impressed!

    Stand by to be impressed even more:

    I can eat pizza, drink beer, and watch football – all at the same time!

    • #92
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Stad (View Comment):
    I can eat pizza, drink beer, and watch football – all at the same time!

    Got me beat.

    • #93
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    I can eat pizza, drink beer, and watch football – all at the same time!

    Got me beat.

    I’m sure you multitask in other ways.

    • #94
  5. Shauna Hunt Coolidge
    Shauna Hunt
    @ShaunaHunt

    I used to write fiction. It’s what I’m most comfortable with. Writing nonfiction at Ricochet has been hard for me. I love history and fiction. I read a lot of historical fiction. I also love to read nonfiction that reads like a novel. Bonus points if historical fiction is based on the author’s family history. 

    I don’t know what I’m afraid of. I have been struggling to write for the last few months. Lots of great ideas here, though!

    • #95
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Shauna Hunt (View Comment):
    I don’t know what I’m afraid of.

    Success?

    • #96
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Shauna Hunt (View Comment):
    I don’t know what I’m afraid of.

    Success?

    That’s actually true.  It’s a companion to “fear of failure” and ever bit as debilitating.  Now, I admit my definition of success is pretty low (Sell at least one book to someone who isn’t a friend or family member.), but some authors fear success because once successful, the expectations of the readership now give him a bar to clear with his next work.

    Think about an actress who has a hit movie, then the next one is a stinker.  Her fans are disappointed, and she knows it (All About Steve – how could you Sandra, after The Proposal?).

    • #97
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