You want to find your voice. And your busy.
So busy, you don't even want to believe it's possible.
And maybe you even have this fantasy, where one day you'll wake up with more time than 'to-do.'
Is it just me? Because I admit it, I cling to that fantasy.
I picture myself in fuzzy socks, sitting outside on my wood deck with a view of snow-capped mountains. My journal and a giant mug of coffee in front of me...silence abounds. Time stretches to the horizon...
The fantasy is more comfortable than admitting the reality:
I've got to make some serious choices to make about how I spend my time.
Here it is, this little fact, irritating us, reminding us of its presence:
We have to choose. We can't do it all. And we owe it to ourselves to make our time count.
Above all, we owe it to ourselves to commit to creativity.
Want to infuse your life with creativity, inspiration and meaning AND find your voice? Find a way to reach both goals at once.
Creativity and inspiration for your writing--for you.
That's why we read, isn't it? We choose inspiration, meaning, creativity and beauty over...social media, the perfectly clean home, sometimes sleep even!
And we immerse ourselves in English at the same time. We win in so many ways. (Some even argue that reading fiction is good for your bottom line.)
As you know, I think writing is a great way to take what you've read and make it yours.
And I think a little creative writing and story-telling should be on your menu.
Today I'd like to tell you...
- why creativity is a need.
- why creativity is the most effective way to learn.
- how YOU can start infusing your writing practice with creativity (don't worry, it's simpler than you think).
Why YOU need creativity and inspiration.
Do you ever think that being creative, writing stories or finding time for artistic inspiration is just something fun and fluffy--not a priority?
Before you answer that...
- did(do) your parents ever tell you to do your 'real work' before your creative work...or play?
- do you find yourself putting off creative pursuits for when you have more time?
- do you spend more time on 'work' than 'play?'
As you read this, you may find yourself feeling a little resistant to the idea of making creativity in your learning a priority. How could it be otherwise?
Here's the thing: there's a lot of social pressure pushing us away from creative pursuits. We sometimes weren't brought up with creativity and innovation as a value. But...
Creativity is a need.
I mean, yes, first you need food, and shelter and love...but inspiration and creativity and meaning aren't really that far behind.
And I wonder...Is a life that's devoid of these things really sustainable in the long-term?
Living without a creative outlet is a little like being in crisis-mode. Surviving.
Maybe we can do better?
Look, it would not be an exaggeration to say that I think creativity, inspiration, personal connection is your human right. Whether it makes you a better learner, business person or writer.
But here's something that might surprise you:
Infusing your writing practice with creativity is the most effective way to find a voice that is unique, yours.
Creativity in the Pressure Cooker: my experience in the Silicon Valley
I could point you to research on creativity, play and personal connection and how they are the essence of learning a language (or anything else!).
But I'd rather tell you a story.
I started my teaching career in the Silicon Valley about 15 years ago...
We (the teachers) were already struggling to help overly stressed students (in high school!) to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
A team from Stanford University even came to our high school to train train us.
Local business and academic leaders were already waking up to the fact that creativity and innovation was not just a human need. Here's a quote from an article in the Harvard Business Review that captures the mood at the workshop,
A substantial body of work on creativity has been available to any businessperson inclined to step back from the fray of daily management and engage in its questions. And that’s suddenly very fortunate, because what used to be an intellectual interest for some thoughtful executives has now become an urgent concern for many. The shift to a more innovation-driven economy has been abrupt.
Suddenly we needed to be preparing students to innovate. And we were failing.
Instead we were churning out overly-stressed, over-worked students who still couldn't meet the new demands they would face at University...and beyond.
All this despite extreme efforts and sacrifices on the part of the students and teachers. Or maybe because of those very efforts.
(Let's step back and think about that from a human perspective again, not just a business perspective...)
Anyway, the team from Stanford suggested a new approach--that included creativity, personal relevance...and even play.
But putting it in place? Well, that was more difficult. You see...
- We teachers liked the idea, but hadn't really learned that way ourselves!
- Parents and even students were suspicious of non-conventional (innovative!) teaching techniques.
Imagine it: your family moves across the world to attend high school in California so you can go to a top university...
And your teachers tell you to be creative...to play even.
Creativity--an efficient and essential learning tool
Why should you be creative in your learning? Aside from the fact that you are--first and foremost-a human being?
Being creative in your learning means
- innovating, thinking on your feet.
- making something that can't be copied and pasted.
- knowing something that can't simply be memorized.
- using your knowledge to solve problems later in a way only you can imagine.
- avoiding the burnout that comes with repetition and over-work.
It means your "answer" your work will be different, unique, yours.
And most importantly, it means English will be yours to use creatively, to apply to real life situations as they arrive.
Creative Writing for you?
Yes, you. And why not?
Feeling like you're in your own sort of pressure-cooker?
Want to find your voice? Want to feel like yourself when you write? Want your writing to rise to the occasion?
Learn a way that sparks your creativity, that allows you to live a little. That lets you be a human being...
And when you start to feel guilty for indulging in this luxury, remind yourself:
Creativity is not an escape or a vacation. It's the true source of learning...and innovation.
Creativity is yours.
Creative writing to try today:
- Want to learn vocabulary? I mean actually expand the vocabulary you use in your writing? Instead of memorizing a list or using an app for repetition, take the words you want to learn and write them into a story, or sketch a scene or a character.
- Want to connect to a story you read? Take a quote or passage, write about what you liked about it...and then try writing a story of your own.
- Want to make fewer errors in your writing? Write a piece of micro-fiction, then proofread it, re-write it, get feedback on it from your peers...
- Want to learn to think on your feet? Write something creative every week. Practice writing freely, for a specific amount of time.
- Want to start feeling confident when you write? Write something creative and then share it with others...with me, with a small group...with the Vagabond English Book Club on Facebook.
Need a little inspiration delivered to your inbox?
I want to invite you to the Short Story Series. (It's free).
It's something new I'm working on with you in mind--to help you read, write and find your voice. In a truly human and truly innovative way.
You'll get a short story plus writing inspiration every 2-3 days.
It's self-paced so you can take your time.
You can write as long as much or as little as you like.
You can share your writing with me, a small group or in our Book Club on Facebook.
Plus, you can help me innovate too by giving me your feedback. That way I can make the short story series even better next time.
Because, above all, I want everything you do to be worthy of your time.
Sound like fun?