Kristen Lamb asked an interesting question on her blog last week, Are We Born to Create? Her posts often make me think and inspire my own posts here. (Her unofficial muse skill is one of the reasons I’ve dubbed her “awesome-dipped-in-glitter” (TM). *smile*)
More specifically, she wondered if creative people are born to create. Many creative jobs don’t pay very well, so as Kristen said:
“[W]hen we tell our family that we want to be a writer, what they hear is akin to, “Blah, blah, throwing away college education blah blah cult blah Kool-Aid, blah blah writer.””
Because of reactions like that, I’d guess many of us creative types traveled a roundabout journey in our lives before committing to our creative needs. Kristen tried business, the military, politics, sales, and law school on her way to acknowledging that her happiness depended on being a writer.
For money, we often do non-creative work as our “day job.” I’m no exception, and yet I’ve always found ways to be creative. As a child, I designed
houses castles. Then I moved on to crafts, gaming, interior decorating, landscape design, etc.
But none of those creative expressions gave me the satisfaction of writing. So not only was I journeying through day jobs, but I was also journeying through creative outlets until I found “the one” I was passionate about.
Maybe most people are creative, but they never stumble upon their passion. Maybe their creativity always remains a sidelight or hobby because of that mismatch.
Matching creativity with passion might be like a relationship. Some of us find the love of our lives in high school, or after we’ve had a few uninspiring dates, while others of us find it only after we’ve given up on love. So maybe the unfortunate few who look like uncreative types simply haven’t found the outlet that matches their passion.
Of course, once we find our passion, we can still misstep. Artists experiment with different mediums or styles, musicians change from country to rock, and writers try different genres. We want to find the perfect fit because being creative is hard work. We rip out our insides and place them on display for others.
I could get depressed that it took so long to find my passion, but I try to live my life without regrets. Those various day jobs and false starts made me who I am today. And I like to think that a writer with layers is a writer who can write stories with layers.
So were those other activities really wrong turns? Or did all that help me become the writer I am today? The “write what you know” advice works better when we know and have experienced more. I’m an optimist, so I choose to believe my journey has helped me. *smile*
What wrong turns have you made? Have you had interesting experiences with your day jobs that help your creativity? Have you experimented with multiple creative outlets? How did you know which was “the one”? Do you think your journey has hurt or helped you?