That’s my favorite word to use when I’m trying to spit out the swirling in my mind. I usually utter this right as I sit down in front of my computer to begin writing, my mind bloated with thoughts - about relationships, myself, and something I read in a book last night. All my pent up hopes and dreams, expressed in one well-formed word.
At times I find myself scrambling to type, expecting the thoughts to be lost forever should I not get them written down. Other times I just sit there, staring at my blank screen. Inevitably though, the words start to form themselves and I’ve got some sentences. The writing is certainly crappy, but it’s there in it’s raw form - the offspring of my rambling brain.
Once I start writing, be it poetry or prose, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my body. Taking the time to creatively express myself is now just a part of my daily life. I must do it, or it feels like the day is not quite complete. Even if I spend a short time at the end of the day I try to make it a priority.
We consume so much during the day - listening to music, playing on our phones, watching TV, reading books and articles, etc. It’s crucial that we take the time to make something of our own. To move from consumption to creation.
If you don’t know where to start, begin by writing - no scrapbooking material, musical knowledge, or artistic skill needed. You can even jot notes down on your phone (I often try to avoid that, as I get distracted easily). What you create doesn’t even have to make sense! (Seriously). It’s just that you’re making instead of taking.
Your creation doesn’t have to be a moving piece of music, or a watercolor that you’ll want to post on Instagram. I’d actually discourage sharing your expressions at first, just to avoid the concern to make something that other people will like. I’ve found that the voices saying that you’re not creative/thoughtful/artistic/whatever enough, have absolutely nothing to add to your experience. Also, they're totally not true.
Creative self expression is not necessarily meant to be on display. It’s just for you in that moment, which makes it all the more important. Ansel Adams had some wise words to say about that:
“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
So why take the time to create? Perhaps you’re unlike me and don’t carry a half ton gorilla on your shoulders. That’s okay. However, I guarantee once you begin to create something, whatever it may be, you’ll want to keep at it. This personal time allows you to be alone with your thoughts and desires, to untangle personal mysteries, to have time to dive into the richness of your soul. I wouldn’t say that creating is necessarily relaxing (although it can be at times), but it is certainly therapeutic. Moving from consumption to creation is a necessary step on the road to self awareness.
I hope that you can take some time tonight or tomorrow, even just 30 minutes, to create something.