Did you enjoy yesterday’s blog? Who would have guessed that we would enjoy such a unique rendition of classical music? Who would have thought that classical music – least of all music by the great master, Bach – and a pristine forest could complement each other so well? And more than that, who would have thought that we would be able to enjoy this experience by way of videos and computers? Talk about a rich canvas of creativity!
This is what creativity is all about. Artists, musicians, writers and other creative people frequently step off the path of everyday life and play. Oh, yes, they spend countless hours, days and years learning the techniques of the masters. They practice endlessly striving for precision. Then, at some point – for some sooner than later – they stop working and start playing. They step beyond the drive to copy the greats and do “what comes naturally”. That is when the practitioner emerges into the creator. That is talent!
Being a writer, I’m keenly aware of how important it is to strive for perfection. Everyone who strives to be an artist, regardless of the medium, struggles to achieve flawless execution. But I feel very sorry for those who are so caught up in learning their craft that they fail to develop into full-blown creative artists.
Formula vs Creativity
Today we see a frenzy among writers to follow formulas whether it be in creating advertising or resumes or blogs. Afraid – or unwilling – to deviate from the tried and true, too many writers strive to copy what has been tested and proven to be successful in getting pre-determined results from readers. They focus too much on writing exactly like everyone else so that they can “succeed” or sell their work. In the process they lose sight of their potential.
There’s good reason to follow formulas at times. Formulas help mold academic, scientific and other technical writing. Special formats help assure that writers and readers don’t miss critical information. Adhering to specific language patterns assure that everyone specializing in a specific realm can communicate easily without misinterpretation. It’s worlds easier to compare and contrast thoughts when they are set in formulas and formats that follow a single set pattern.
Formulas – especially formulas that require writing in chunks – also allow for speed reading and skimming, which is what most of us have learned to do working on the internet. They make life a whole lot easier when we are caught up in this crazy multi-tasking mentality that has overwhelmed us in recent years.
Creative writing, on the other hand, calls into play such capricious concepts as rhythm. It calls the reader to loiter long enough to enjoy a particularly sensuous scene and to delve deeply into the minds and hearts of characters who mimic real life in their unpredictability. It luxuriates in a thousand different senses that may even chide the reader into stopping momentarily to re-experience a particular poignant memory.
Creative writing challenges the reader to savor the word images and luxuriate in the processes of thought and imagery. It begs the reader to, slow down and experience something beyond the every day cacophony.
Narry the twain should meet?
Many writers settle into a niche and stick with it….developing a particular style and following it to the exclusion of all others. And, in practice, there are times when it’s just not wise to try to mix creativity with technical prowess,.Despite this, I maintain that there is a time and place for experimentation. The technical can mesh very nicely with the creative. Different tools can work together to achieve a unique experience.. There is a time for writers to play. Technical writers can be great creative writers with a little effort. Creative writers, certainly, can rein in their emotions and stick with “just the facts, thank you, ma’am.”
Language is forever evolving, as is all human expression. Each writer who allows himself or herself to play can develop a unique voice just as each musician, painter, sculptor and actor can. It takes some stretching. It requires risk-taking. And it takes encouragement.
I would hope that anyone who is dedicated to teaching and mentoring young minds will continue to focus on achievement of perfection. At the same time, I pray that they will also be very careful to avoid suffocating the urge of their students to play and that they will inspire those youngsters to grow quickly to the place where they can feel comfortable using the rules and formulas to achieve something particularly grand.
Let’s give ourselves and our youngsters permission to play at our crafts. Lets allow – even encourage – everyone to grow beyond mindless imitation of others. When we reward those who dare to be different, we could reduce a lot of the problems we now have with infringement of copyrights. But even beyond that, magic happens when precision meets play. We have nothing to lose and a whole world of unimaginably wondrous experiences to gain.