I attended a creative writing class recently, facilitated as part of a community project – the idea being that people could come along and have fun writing stories and poems. In other words, this process helped give people the ability to articulate what could otherwise not be said, and the opportunity to express in an oblique way what was going on for them. What emerged was some powerful writing with strong symbolic resonance.
Since studying for an MA in creative writing, I’ve approached my prose as something that has to be ‘perfect’: I carefully craft each word as if each one might be judged and found wanting. What was so liberating about this creative writing class was that it was just that: creative. The teacher gave us all permission to ‘break the rules’, and most importantly to have fun.
I felt more inspired than I had done in months: I wrote two pages of a short story which, when I read it out, prompted three laughs from the group. I amazed myself that I could have fun writing – and the story wasn’t bad, either.
The upshot is that the creativity inspired by that session is flowing into my ‘real’ writing, and I have been more productive and less inhibited in developing my novel. My writer’s block appears to have vanished (or hiding round the corner, at least).
By giving myself permission to be imperfect in the creation stage, I take the pressure off and just go with it – trusting that I can perfect it when editing and producing the second and third drafts.