In my house, I have a “scrapbook room.” It’s really just a den that I put a table and my scrapbooking stuff into, but it is a designated room for creativity. The trouble is, over the years, this room has turned into a place where I scatter printed photos and memorabilia into organized piles on the floor. Scrapbooking appealed to me, I think, because of the creative aspect of the action. I loved cropping pictures—sometimes into shapes—and designing a page. It gave me a diluted version of the same joy I get while writing.
Looking back, I have always had a “creative” outlet. During high school, it was my art class. My grandest achievements was building the thrones of the Olympian Gods as well as reconstructing a mini model of King Tut’s Tomb. The thrones actually helped me in writing because I was plotting The Curse of Atlantisat the time.
I was thinking about this as I looked my “scrapbook” slash “photo pile” room and started wondering a few things. First, I am curious if writers all have creative outlets. The whole point of writing is to create worlds and images with words. Surely, writers would therefore be attracted to other forms like crafts and scrapbook. I wonder if that is common amongst writers. The second thing I wondered is if this outlet is a good thing.
The number one reason people use to excuse why they can’t finish their novel is the amount of time in the day. I know I am currently in this rut and desperately screaming at myself to get out of it. There is not a lot of time. So, should I add one more thing like scrapbooking to the list? Does it then become a good excuse to fill my time and not finish the novel? I think it does. But, I don’t’ think creative outlets should be discarded completely. I know there was one story where I had a complete writer’s block. The duration started to become scary. I started to wonder if I had finally peaked. I had used all of the unknown supply of creativity and was finished with my writing career (that sort of pressure probably didn’t help things). Then I sat down to scrapbook. It took two days (I was in college and had way more time than I do now), but eventually an idea popped out of the mass of construction paper and stickers.
I think the summation goes back to balance. I read a blog post last week that discussed successful traits. One is that writers are disciplined to write, even if they don’t feel like it. I will extend this to say successful writers make writing a priority. But creativity is the same no matter the form it comes in. So, go ahead and do the “off task” creativity as long as it doesn’t take away from writing. Writing is first, but all the rest can only enhance the experience when prioritized correctly.