“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it.” Martha Graham, choreographer and writer
“Life energy flows when we create, or when we help another person’s creativity flower by encouraging them in some way…. Creativity brings us to life, and by using our creativity we help bring the world into being.” Dr. Joan Borysenko, psychologist and writer
Creativity: We crave it and court it, but so often we think of it as a big flash of brilliance, a game-changer, an insight that’s profoundly original. And in the rush to chase after that bright, shiny idea, we forget to value the little moments of quickening, the wispy thought — the tiny seed — which, with care and watering, can blossom into something wonderful the world has never seen.
So often in working on my children’s novel, I’ve found that if I can just get quiet and listen, I’ll feel the “life force, an energy, a quickening” — a wisp of creativity that can be translated into action, as Martha says so beautifully. And if I sit for a while, I can come up with a way to bring it out into the world through my words. It may be imperfect, it may need fine-tuning, but still, it’s out of my head and on the page, where I can play with it.
And more often than not, I’ve found that if I keep stringing these small moments, these tiny quickenings, together, they become stepping stones that lead me to a bigger insight — a more original idea that can enrich the story I’m telling.
So let’s take joy and pleasure in our small moments of creativity today: Ones where we find a more vibrant verb, when we switch two sentences around and find a better flow, when we discover a hidden rhythm in a phrase and build on it to create a more muscular sentence. All these are acts of originality, writerly magic, the alchemy by which we transform brain waves into brave worlds.
Let’s remember, as Joan said, “by using our creativity we help bring the world into being.” This is no small task, and as Martha reminds us, our own personal way of doing this is unique: No one else can do it in quite the way each of us can. As writers, we’re world builders — what a bold enterprise we’re engaged in today as we all write on!