Guest post: Creativity and Trust by Jeremy C. Shipp

Anytime you encounter clowns or gnomes, you need to spend a moment to pity poor Jeremy, who deals with both on a daily basis and still manages to stay sane.  Well, mostly sane. And what is sanity anyway? Just a state of mind. I make no comments on Jeremy’s state of mind, other than to say that I have never been brave enough to read his stories. I like to sleep with the light off, thank you. Today Jeremy is here to talk about a very important issue; trust.

Creativity and Trust

Once upon a time, in a semi-magical town called Beautiful Hill, there lived a boy who wrote a book about a space alien with jagged teeth and an affinity for opera. I was 13 when I wrote my first novel, and I’ve been writing almost constantly ever since.

Early on, I didn’t think about the creative process. I simply enjoyed it. I wrote what I felt like writing. I didn’t hold anything back. I didn’t edit myself. In a manner of speaking, I was living in a creative Eden.

Then, when I was about 18, I decided that I didn’t just want to be a writer. I wanted to be a publisher writer.

At this point, something started to change inside me. I was no longer a boy writing for himself. I was an author writing for an audience. And with this paradigm shift came writer’s block and doubt and worry. Fear devoured my creativity, and my once imaginative tales became bland and stale.

Thankfully, there is a happy ending to this tale, because at the last possible moment, I rescued my drowning muse from my sea of insecurities. I accomplished this by learning to trust in my own creativity. I was a pimply teenager at the time, and so achieving this level of self-respect was difficult for me. But somehow, I managed.

I began to see my imagination as something formidable. Something beautiful.

Once I learned trust and respect my creativity, wonderful things began to happen. I experimented with my voice and style, and my own unique voice started to evolve. I also put my characters into impossible situations, because I trusted that they would find a way out of them. And they did. And when unique ideas about plots and characters manifested in my skull, instead of thinking “There’s no way I can pull this off,” I used them.

And so, for me, being creative isn’t simply about coming up with unique ideas. Creativity is about taking chances. It’s about developing new styles, new voices, new genres.

Creativity is a mindset that affects not only my writing, but my whole life.

When I was a insecure teenager, I lived in a bland and stale world devoid of miracles or magic. Now, I live in a semi-haunted Victorian farmhouse with my wife, two cats who may or may not be space aliens, a legion of yard gnomes, and an attic full of evil clowns.

In other words, creativity isn’t simply a part of life. It’s a lifestyle.

Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker nominated author of books such as Cursed, Vacation, and Fungus of the Heart. His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 50 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Pseudopod, and Withersin.

Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage. He lives there with his wife, Lisa, a couple of mighty cats, and a legion of yard gnomes. The gnomes like him. The clowns living in his attic–not so much. Feel free to visit his online home at Jeremy C. Shipp, writer guy, and follow him on Twitter.

13 thoughts on “Guest post: Creativity and Trust by Jeremy C. Shipp

  1. Hi Jeremy. I’m really glad you wrote this because it reinforced my thinking about my wanting to write now. For a long time, I lived in my “day-job” just trying to survive and pay bills. So, I put my writing self back in a deep closet somewhere. Now, that I am retiring from that day job, my creativity is literally coming out of the closet; and it feels really good. I’m starting to feel complete now that I have been writing again.

    I want to thank-you, Jeremy, for letting me know that I am not the only one that thinks that my creativity is formidable. Now, I just want to get it out; and have been writing every day.

    I’ve started my murder mystery that I’ve been leaving in the closet for so long. Hope it’s good enough for the world. But you know, if it’s not. So be it. I’ll be happy just getting out of my system.

    Thanks again,
    Robert Collazo

  2. Pingback: Creativity workshop: the end, and thank you | Not Enough Words

  3. That’s a good point. Writing for your own benefit is pleasurable, but writing for others turns it into a product. Write for yourself, and others happen to like it, then woohoo!

  4. Thanks so much for the guestpost. I understand all those anxieties that form when you pass the point of writing for yourself into the realm of writing for others… I just hope I can get over them in time, like you. Keep up the good work.

  5. I cant wait to get my grubby little hands on a Jeremy Shipp book! I love creepy, scary, horror but not clowns. Yard gnomes and cats very much. Thanks for the great post.

  6. Thanks Jeremy! Love your work and glad that you were able to rescue that drowning Muse. And today was THE most perfect day to read this message while on my own path (yes, Muse managed to face plant herself in a puddle and try to drown in two inches of water), so thanks for tweeting the link.

  7. I would give the clowns the ol’ Zombieland hammer to the skull treatment if I were you, Jeremy. But hey, if you want to feed them and let them hang in your attic? Good on you.

    Digging the post, good sir. Self-censorship is teh suxor. I will break it.

  8. Yes. Creativity is a lifestyle and despite the scary parts, it’s a wonderful one to have. I don’t suppose the yard gnomes host tea parties in the garden for the attic clowns?

  9. Jeremy, The creativity you mention does indeed come down to courage and confidence. Thank you for sharing.

    Merrilee – Thanks for hosting!

  10. Enjoyed this very much. Yes, the artistic journey sometimes seems to be all about trust. :)

    I’ll have to check out your site, Jeremy. (And can I say, I’m almost scared? If Merrilee has trouble reading your stuff because she wants to sleep at night….)

  11. I think the clowns would freak me out the most. Actually some of Jeremy’s books are up for Goodreads giveaways aren’t they? I think I’ve entered to win them!

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