On Creativity & “Self- Help”

If you know me, you probably know that 99% of the books I read for leisure are self- help books, and that I used to be insecure and quite frankly ashamed of reading them. However, I think I’ve cracked the case as to why I am so unbothered by fiction nowadays, and it came to me in an unexpected way.  

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m enrolled in a creative writing workshop class for school. Throughout the semester, we’re required to write a formal manuscript for 4 genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, drama and poetry. I personally am instantly drawn to creative nonfiction, and maybe poetry. Drama and fiction however... I wouldn’t even know where to start. We are assigned a 20 minute in class exercise each class and are required to share our work aloud with the class afterward. My classmates are wildly creative and many of them are able to dream up stories within 20 tiny minutes. Me, not so much.

At first, I felt a tinge of insecurity. “Maybe I’m not as creative as I thought I was”. I was intimidated to say the least. I went back and forth in my head, and when it came my turn to share, I ended up mumbling through my piece with my head down, quiet and ashamed. 

Then, something clicked- Although it can be fun, I’m not interested in creating different stories and different worlds. What I’m interested in is making this world, the one we actually live in better. How can I make myself better for this world? I agree, it’s pretty messed up, but if I can start with me  , that’s one person and one more step in the right direction. One step closer to creating a better place. (Now, this is not to trash fiction writers and people who love reading fiction. It is definitely a gift, just not mine.)

We all have our methods to sort of “escaping” and taking our minds off of things. Some people read stories, some people watch tv, some people go on hikes, some people exercise. These are all great! Reading is not one of my “take your mind off of the world” things. Reading makes me think and reflect. 

I used to feel boring and utterly “uncreative”  for being solely interested in non fiction. Now, I try to find creative ways to look at real life, and make it show in my writing. My professor told me that she noticed “a theme of beauty” in all of my pieces. That It seems like I try to find beauty in ordinary things and express it through words. To that, I have three things to say: 1. It takes practice. 2. There is beauty in everything. And 3. It’s easier to see when you have Jesus. 

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