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Thursday, March 1, 2007

Fostering Creativity

Writing is a craft. It is a craft that requires nurturing and inspiration, along with skill and knowledge. Most writers look for news ways to be creative and inspired. I remember years ago listening to the audio tape of Julia Cameron talking about THE ARTIST'S WAY. I realize she is most well-known for the implementation of morning pages - but it was something else she said that struck me. She spoke of the possibilities that open up when you allow yourself to be creative. In my own words that means when you let creativity in the front door, it's amazing what comes in through the back door. Julia said to notice the things you start doing - suddenly you will be making curtains for your windows. The concept gave me pause. If I spent time doing other creative things, I would run out of time to write! I didn't have time to paint, or sew, or even plant flowers. If I made the time for these pursuits, wouldn't it detract from my writing? I struggled with this notion for years - really! I found myself actually avoiding other creative endeavors in rebellion. But the universe gave me signs, and friends!

My friend Tina Nichols Coury is an illustrator/artist who made the decision to become a writer - and her first book about Mount Rushmore is coming out in the Fall of 2008. Tina showed me the similarities between art and writing - they are skills that require passion, commitment, and a tenacious spirit. She writes in her studio, surrounded by paints and canvases - and the colors nurture her words.

Then I had the blessing to have Julie Williams, author of ESCAPING TORNEDO SEASON, in my critique group. Julie is an artist's artist. She creates beautiful works of art - she loves pens and beautiful papers and incorporates photos into her art. Knowing Julie made me realize that different art forms will actually foster the creativity needed to write. Art nurtures art.

Finally, I took a wonderful workshop from author Robin LaFevers. She encouraged us to create collages of our stories to provide insight and inspiration. I was hesitant, tentative - but I felt myself beginning to let go. I went home and pulled out a stack of magazines. I cut and pasted with abandon. I looked at my final product with awe. It was my story - with details I hadn't yet discovered in my words. That's when it hit me. I am a writer. I am an artist. I finally gave myself the permission I needed to be a fully creative person.

Now I gotta go - I have to sew some new curtains.

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Anonymous rushmore kid said...


I love the rush I get from this collaborative art. There is nothing better than group, workshops or a critiquenic to give a boost to the work.

By the way my book is not coming out this fall, but scheduled for Fall 2008.


March 1, 2007 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Terry Pierce said...

Very nice, Barbara. You've reminded me of something important--I bought all of the materials to make a collage of my novel, and the supplies are still sitting on my desk... Thanks for the kick in the pants!

March 2, 2007 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Barbara Bietz said...

We could have a collage/critique party - that could be fun!

March 4, 2007 at 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Greg T. said...

Dang it! Now I'm going to have to do one of those collage thingys. Just when I though I could sit down and write. Nice ideas, Barbara.

Greg T.

March 7, 2007 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger Robin L said...

Barbara I'm SO glad the collage worked for you! I got chills reading about how you were able to let go and totally enter into the creative process, then found your story.

Isn't it amazing how we can uncover stuff our thinking brains don't even know yet?? Love that!

March 7, 2007 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bietz said...

Thanks for commenting! Greg - you would be surprised how helpful collaging can be! Robin - you are so right - it is incredible what you can reveal in a collage!

March 7, 2007 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger bookbk said...

This is fascinating--I wonder what would happen if I started doing collages...

Thanks for visiting my blog, by the way! Like a Maccabee sounds like it would be great for my school library.

March 22, 2007 at 9:27 PM  

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