Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Desire to Create

I'm writing this post tonight because I'm simply not up for working on The Story (up to 35,000 words, by the way). Nothing like blogging to procrastinate on what you're actually "supposed" to be writing. Or housework to avoid doing homework. I suppose I could do housework to avoid working on The Story, but that won't fulfill my self-imposed goal of 500 words per day.

I've also wanted to talk about The Desire to Create. Obvious examples of creation include writing or painting, but that's hardly just it. I think of this desire as simply the desire to make something. For now, I'm going to leave it as something tangible, such as woodworking or music. It's entirely possible that the manipulations of people could count as art, but that seems like it could be more destructive than creative, and that's another thing altogether.

Most of my life I've been aware of this desire, although when I was really young I just did it. If I wanted to write, I would write. Now, I think about writing, and when I do get around to writing, the words I put out are different than the ones I've been thinking of all day. It's like light particles; the nature of it changes upon observation.

Now this desire is more like an itch that I want to scratch.

I'm not sure what sparks this desire to create, or even what percentage of the population has it. Probably more than is immediately apparent. It's probably a smaller percentage that indulges it, whether because of perfectionism or fear or laziness or a lack of time or inspiration. There are reasons.

I thought of myself as "a writer" first and foremost for a number of years, until I was well into college and realized that I couldn't bring myself to bang words together unless it was for a mandatory paper. It could have been living in Hawaii, as well. It's like living there sucked all the inspiration out of me. Or maybe it was because I was so busy with school. I admitted to myself that I wasn't really a writer, just a rock with dreams of being magma.

Then I moved to Wisconsin, and inspiration -- or the desire, at least -- came slithering back.

Although now that I think about it, one common factor pre- and post- Hawaii was being part of a writers' group.  I think the presence of a group that shares your interests in your brand of creation and encourages you to do so can't be underestimated. I can't say I wouldn't have started writing again without them, but I'm up to 35,000 words in a story I started in May. I feel they've been good for me. You might be able to drive for five thousand miles, but you need a little gas to get started.

Another thing I've had to get over is trying to perfect my writing as I write it. I've had to go, "the important thing is to get the words on the paper," and continue banging words out and ignoring the nagging voice that maybe they're not the right words, or they're inaccurate, or they don't describe what I want to say.

Sometimes, the key to creation is not to create the most glorious thing ever, but to create, period.



  1. Anyone who describes herself as "a rock who dreams of magma" is a writer. Indeed, rocks make the deepest writers. They have tectonic memories and long futures.

    1. Sorry it took me so long to release your comment, I haven't checked for a few days, and the instant I take the filtering off the comments fill up with cell phone offers. :)