Or it often feels like magic. Let me give you an example. Anthony, our playwriting teacher, sends us a writing prompt each Tuesday evening. I read it and often think to myself, “what am I going to write?”
The next day or the day after, I read the prompt again and think a bit about it. I wonder if any idea will come to me for a scene. Sometimes I’ll sit down and brainstorm ideas and write them down. Sometimes I’ll share the prompt with my husband as we go for a walk and maybe think about ideas. But usually, I let the prompt simmer in the back of mind.
And then, like magic, an idea arises and I sit down to write the scene. The dialogue for the scene or scenes usually come quickly, and I write it in one sitting. Often, I have written some of the lines in my head prior to typing them into the computer. I let it sit for a day or so and then read what I’ve written out loud and make edits. Then I email it to Anthony by Monday at noon. At 1pm that day, we cast the parts with our fellow writers, read each other’s works out loud, and then give feedback.
I love this process! Writing a scene every week in response to a prompt, I learn playwriting conventions, sharpen my tools, keep the ideas flowing. This both helps me produce a body of work and prepares me to write a new play. I’ve been waiting for a new play idea to form, and I think I see it emerging from the twists in my brain, just as the new growth is sprouting from the ground and trees around me. Lots and lots of weeds! And, bright yellow bulbs, soft pink blossoms on trees, and delicate new leaves.
Creativity is exciting. I see it in my husband as he now has time to sing in a chorus and take up the new experience of writing poetry/lyrics to songs. I see the spark of joy emerging in him.
I see this spark emerge also from my coaching clients when they bring back some form of creativity into their lives that has lain dormant for many years. Or it may come from experiencing art as an observer.
I am listening to the novel, “This Is Happiness” by Niall Williams and loving it. Here is a passage that speaks to me: “It seems to me the quality that makes any book, music, painting worthwhile is life, just that. Books, music, painting are not life, can never be as full, rich, complex, surprising or beautiful, but the best of them can catch an echo of that, can turn you back to look out the window, go out the door aware that you’ve been enriched, that you have been in the company of something alive that has caused you to realise once again how astonishing life is, and you leave the book, gallery or concert hall with that illumination, which feels I’m going to say holy, by which I mean human raptness.”
How do you experience creativity? How and when do you feel illuminated?