Tips for Creativity
You're not saving the world
And that’s probably the summation of a few hundred pages. So is this book a waste of time? Absolutely not. It’s whimsical, amusing, endearing, and like an old friend, gently prods you into submission. Or rather, like a mother, gently nags you into it. There are wonderful titbits in there from Elizabeth such as interviews with Tom Waits around creating jewellery for other people’s minds (‘baubles for the mind’ is another common phrase) but I love the admission that I myself came to: stop being so serious, what you love probably doesn’t really matter.
To clarify that, if you work as a nurse or a doctor or a teacher or in the police force, you shape people’s lives. It genuinely matters when you don’t come to work. The world doesn’t end because they didn’t see a Rembrandt or didn’t like Don Quixote, and the world doesn’t end because you couldn’t finish a sentence, write a song or couldn’t get the shadows right on a cathedral painting.
To quote WC Fields, as Elizabeth does, “It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.” Now I’m not quite brave enough to give up my life and become a ‘writer’ full-time, but that doesn’t mean I stop writing. It means I just go about it a different way than others do. But does that not make me a writer? I don’t think so.
I have written a book and had articles published in magazines along with my photography. I write in two blogs and a monthly motorcycle website, yet none of this makes me a writer in my eyes. If I sing, and I do, badly, the only note I can hold is a post-it. This does not make me a singer. For me it’s as simple as this: I write; I take photographs; I travel. None of this makes me a traveller, a photographer or a writer, but a person that enjoys pursuits to please himself. I write. I take photographs. I travel.
It’s what YOU want to be considered. I write for myself because I enjoy the writing process. If you write for others and one person hates it, what do you do then? Give up and never touch the keyboard? No, you keep writing. Some feedback will be valid, some will not, but it’s the creative process that is makes you do what you do.
P.S. I'll probably end up reading Eat Pray Love!