“There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that —
but you are the only you.”
― Neil Gaiman
Abusive situations are not the only ways life can steal our creativity. Something as seemingly positive-sounding as perfection can also hinder our creative self.
Have you ever visited an art museum or read a book and thought, what in the world did I just see or read? That’s not art. I could do better than that. But it is art. Creativity is your expression of your art in any form and it does not have to be perfect or even liked by everyone. It just has to be from your heart and soul.
Creativity does not strive for perfection, only expression. Everyone is unique, so each expression of creativity will be unique as well. And we all have different opinions, tastes, and preferences. We don’t all like the same things. Just as we have different tastes in food or the type of soda we drink, we have different tastes in what we consider creative.
As a society, we’ve forgotten the most important part of creativity and writing — the creativity. I know that sounds obvious. But as we go through school, we are taught grammar and spelling and how to write for a good grade. In most classrooms and even in most homes, we aren’t shown the wild, passionate, addictive, healing, world-changing, creative side of writing that fills our soul, body, and mind.
This part of writing is what I find the most amazing and fulfilling, and this is what the world really needs from all of us. Whether the world knows it or not, it needs your book. It needs your creativity, not your perfection.
Never give up on your creativity
The creative process of writing itself is an immense benefit. Creativity is necessary to survive and is who we are, even as we grow and change. The type of creativity you practice may be different than others, and it will change with you, but it is always part of you.
My heart’s desire is for you to never give up your creative writing. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Because being good and great and an expert at writing can be the goals you work toward. Once you realize writing is your creative center, you can learn and practice and create more. No one starts out writing a bestseller. There are always multiple drafts, editors, and proofreaders, and a dozen other things that need to happen before publishing your book. So right now just concentrate on finding your creative sweet spot. It may not look like much at first, but you’ll know it when you find it. You’ll feel it deep within you.
Your writing is first for you
Even while I was writing my first ugly draft (I edited my first book fourteen times before I sent it to my first of three editors), I would get lost in my characters and in their worlds, laughing and crying with them. In that flow of writing creativity, it is sweet and warm and blocks out all sense of time and activity. While I’m in that world, I don’t remember the gossip at work or the unpaid bill on my desk. For that period of time, while I’m engrossed in my writing, nothing else matters. I am whole, I am complete, I am in love with the world I’m creating. I enjoy my creative writing time, I need that time, and I live for that time. Even if I know my first draft is not going to be great, I know it’s the process I crave.
Your creative writing can be anything you’re drawn to: science fiction, young adult, mystery, thriller, horror, poetry, RPG stories, fantasy, memoir, historical romance, non-fiction, or even children’s reading or coloring books. Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect or desired by the masses. Your creative writing is first and foremost for you.
I’m not sure where I saw it, but I love the quote: “Perfect is out — creative is the new superpower.” I love this because we’ve been a nation focused on perfection for too long. Perfect grades, perfect bodies, the perfect house in the perfect subdivision, the perfect life, having the perfect spouse with 2.5 perfect kids, and the perfect job.
There is no perfection
And guess what? There is no perfect. It’s all a lie. On the quest for perfection, the world is only finding disappointment and depression. Why? Because we’re humans and we are not perfect.
We make bad choices that affect ourselves and others and our environment. We get into jobs we thought were perfect and then find out they aren’t or we don’t enjoy them, we make friends and get hurt by them when they betray us, we get physically hurt and sick, we get fired, we get bad grades, we get in accidents, and we lose our dreams. We are not perfect.
But we are creative. We will always be. It is who we are as humans. We just need to hold onto our creativity. Keep writing even if you think you suck. Keep writing even after someone finds your journal and you’re hurt and humiliated (I can’t be the only one that happened to, right?). Keep writing even when you’re crazy busy with other life stuff. Keep writing even when the writing is not perfect. Just keep writing.
Brain snack: As humans, we will never achieve perfection. So why make ourselves miserable trying? Concentrate on your creativity. Spend time with your writing, learning how to improve it, and filling your creative tank so that your writing is creative, and is uniquely you. Don’t waste your time striving for perfection. Creativity is always within reach, so embrace it!
From the book Creativity Over Perfection: The World Needs Your Book! by Heather Lee Dyer. Copyright © 2018 by Heather Lee Dyer. Reprinted by permission of Amethyst Rush Press, LLC.