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The Blessing of Creativity

by Julie, not happy about this Artic blast in Somerville

I’m working on a short story that’s due at the end of the year. By work, I mean listening to the song that inspires the story, taking walks, knitting, and jotting down ideas on index cards. Nothing is gelling yet, but I know it will. I have faith in my relationship with my writing muse, and my creative path.

That wasn’t always the case, of course. For a long time, I didn’t even admit aloud that I wanted to write a book. And then it took me years to feel confident enough to have folks read my work. Figuring out how to get published was another journey, made easier by Sisters in Crime and folks like my fellow Wickeds. I’ve spent a career supporting performing artists on their journey, but it took me a long time to embrace my own creative dreams.

I’m not alone in that.

I remember sitting on a author panel, and someone in the audience mentioned that her dream was to be sitting on a stage at some point, talking about her book. Afterwards, I talked to her and asked about her writing. She had a couple of half started novels, but felt that they weren’t any good, so she’d stopped writing.

I met someone else who talked to me about playing a guitar in college. When he spoke, I could tell that he had fond memories of those days. I asked if he still played, and he said that no, he was never that good, and he didn’t have the time. But, when I asked, he admitted he missed it.

Here’s the thing, my friends. Creativity is about the journey, not the destination. In other words, it’s about the writing, not the publishing. It’s about the playing, not the mastery of the guitar. It’s about the baking, not winning the competition.

I’ve created a program I’m calling Muse Mapping. Imagine a blank sheet of paper, and then a magic wand where you tap it and your successful creative journey appears. As folks who are on a creative journey know, the path isn’t straight. There are blocks and obstacles. Different paths appear, and some of them call to be explored. Along the way you meet your community, hone your craft, and figure out what to do with your work should you choose to get it out there. Then there’s the plan itself, and learning how to deal with criticism.

That’s a lot, isn’t it?

Well, I think that the map is necessary. Too many people think that learning how, and then setting a goal are all you need to do. But it takes so much more, including the support of your community, belief in yourself, and the skills to stay on your journey.

But here’s the thing. Creativity is a true blessing, and makes life so much more fun. I’m so glad that I decided to “go for it” regarding my writing life. And I’m glad to have supported dozens of theater artists on their own creative path.

Friends, what is your creative outlet? Tell me about it, and about why you love it. Remember, creativity can be found in all sorts of paths, so let me know.

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