Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Replenishing the Creative Well

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." ~Joseph Chilton Pearce

You’d think as a creative person, I wouldn’t have to work so hard at it. Creativity is- after all- a gift. However, growing up my imagination was treated more like an explanation for the very ways of my existence. “Oh, you know Tiffany…she’s creative.”

I never understood why people tend to make it sound the like very word “creative” should always be separated by quotation marks. (Oh well, she’s “creative” you know.) While growing up, I was often made to feel as if my ability to create was somehow less of an accomplishment because it was always viewed as God given. Certainly my imagination has always been with me and sadly it was not learned in school, accompanied by some fancy Doctorate in Originality.

Since I don’t come from a particularly creative family, you can imagine how blatantly I stand out and how little I tend to fit in. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the black sheep…well, I am the vibrantly multicolored, astounded glittery, unabashedly unapologetic one.

Being a writer is a terribly secluded calling- especially when you are, quite frankly, existing between two worlds. The crowd pleaser in me wants to entertain and be entertained, hit the town with my friends and soak up all the social pleasures of being single but the artist in me knows that any time spent not practicing my craft or pursuing the next project is virtually wasted.

So if the key to happiness in life is all about balance, juggling, and compromise…being a creative person in a world that desperately tries to squelch that flame is even more difficult. We don’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike while we meander mindlessly along. The pressure to find originality in characters that have already existed, storylines that have already been told and scripts that have been played out a million times before is daunting. (This is especially so when you have the added pressure of trying to earn a living in the process.)

In a very Eat, Pray, Love moment, I took an entire year for myself to soul search. People had been coming at me from all directions-the wrong people, moving in the wrong direction. Suddenly, even my “God given” creativity seemed to have deserted me. I had no desire to be in front of a camera or write or create anything for that matter. Nothing made sense, my Universe was thrown into a tailspin and my seemingly endless optimism had vanished. The only thing that was clear was that I had no idea who I was anymore and wasn’t sure if I would ever find the “me” that I used to be before I thought I had it all figured out. Cecil B. DeMille said, “Creativity is a drug I cannot live without,” and as I ambled through that year without it, I felt defeated. Reluctantly, I waved the white flag and surrendered. But just when I began plotting a different course all together-something fantastic happened. I caught a glimpse of my old creative self in that tricky mirror of time.

As it turns out neither my creativity nor the desire to pursue it, had abandoned me after all. While other options had presented themselves, I now realized that there was a bigger reason none of them managed to fit and I was taking with me an entirely renewed sense of purpose. We must be who we are, always. We must pursue –with reckless abandonment- our passions. Whether you are a trial attorney, hoping to score the next big case or a writer like me-there is only one way to fulfill your destiny and that is to actively live it! A heart filled with gratitude has no room for fear inside of it… So it is my sincere hope for you, whatever you are doing, that you are as grateful for the ability to do it as I am today for mine. It is my sincere wish for you that 2011 will be the year that your imagination meets the real world.