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.