Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Act Of Creating

I’m surrounded by creators.

That’s been true for several years now, but only recently, after a few years of writing in public have I found the confidence to count myself among them.

I had a moment of clarity just a few weeks ago after an evening spent with my cousin Damon and dear friend Shayna. It was well past midnight as we sat in Damon’s home studio, sipping coffee and eating cookies while listening to a sneak peek of Damon’s new mixtape.

We bobbed our heads to the beat, threw ideas around and talked about our inspirations.

Once the coffee was gone, we’d eaten too many cookies and heard several of the new tracks, it was time to go. But I didn’t want it to end. I was inspired, uplifted and excited.

Their creative energy feeds my own. I need to write like Damon needs to make music and Shayna needs to get lost in a character.

“All of my closest friends are creators,” I said to Shayna as we drove off into the night. “And so are you,” she answered. “Like souls attract like souls.”

And yet, for the past few months, I’ve been stuck. I’ve found myself consuming more than I’m creating and feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to write something better than my Invictus piece, in order to prove that I’ve grown as a writer.  I finished my last story knowing that I need to write, but not quite knowing how. To avoid the sting of failure, I’ve written a little here and there but spent the majority of my free time looking at my options and carefully planning my next steps.

What story will I tell next? Should I venture into fiction? Playwriting? Do I need a MFA degree to further my writing skills? Where will I find new inspiration? How can I build a life around writing?

That night, as I sat around with my friends and fellow creators, a calm washed over me. The answers to my questions were suddenly less important.

The act of creating is what’s important.

Next month marks my 1-year anniversary at the PR agency gig. It would be safe to say that the real world has swallowed me up. With frequent early morning events, long days, night meetings and weekends spent trying to get ahead; I’ve struggled to find the time and energy to write.

It was a choice that made sense in my head, but betrayed my heart, my passion: To take the business route just in case the writing wouldn’t carry me. And I’ve found myself empty and frustrated, filled with the what-ifs and regrets that I’m still young enough to rectify.

I’ve been putting my energy into the wrong places. It took being around my friends, who are busy creating, to realize that.

When I write, opportunities come. When I don’t, I find myself trying to force open closed doors and fretting over logistics.

The truth that hit me in the wee hours of the morning was simple: When I’m in the right space, surrounded by the right people, focused on creating, the answers to the questions will come.

The gift will make a way for itself. 

P.S. Soon, I'll be revamping and making that the new home for my musings, so go ahead and drop that link into your Google Reader :) 


A.C. Ford said...

Write like you're on fire, Tiffany! I was so excited to see this post and even more excited after I read it. Your words are so important, so good. Please, keep sharing them with us.

Tiffany Holbert said...

You're such an inspiration to me, Ashley! I'm proud to know you. Thanks for the encouragement!

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