I hate talking.
Seriously, I don’t like to talk. I’m not very good at it. Every time I try and speak to someone off the top of my head I feel like I speak in circles and I need to explain every single insignificant detail because I’m afraid I won’t be understood otherwise.
I’ve always been quiet, so I try to find other ways to express myself rather than verbalizing my thoughts. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the clawing urge to create something tangible was stemming from lack of expression in other parts of my life.
I had this weird desire one weekend a couple months back to do something crafty. I couldn’t really place my finger on it, but I wanted to paint or build or assemble, or all of the above. Unfortunately, I couldn’t commit the money to go buy the materials or the time to start a new project so instead I ate breakfast while coloring in an old coloring book. It wasn’t anywhere nearly as satisfying as I wanted but it was a start.
The majority of the time my creativity extends into my writing. I take notes, I make lists, I journal, I write fiction or prose. But sometimes I get tired of words. Sometimes using words is hard. And what happens if what I’m feeling can’t be put into words? What if I don’t want to put it into words?
I think that’s what happened that weekend. I was working on a short story and a huge research paper simultaneously, and I just needed to not think with words. My go-to creative outlet would’ve been to journal or write something creative but my brain needed a break.
If I need a break from words I’ll turn to something visual. I’ve been interested in photography since high school when I used to develop my own film. Spending hours after school in the darkroom was therapeutic; being alone in the dark and waiting ten minutes for a photo to develop gave me ample time to do a lot of thinking. Now I shoot in mainly digital, and I like to take self-portraits or landscape shots. I know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is cliché, but it’s also true. I can convey all of my thoughts and emotions in a single photograph that would normal take up pages of space.
I think both writing and photography are hard at times (or the majority of the time) but they’re both great ways to relieve some creative build up with similar results.
I’m working on making more time in my daily routine for creative breaks and scheduling intentional writing time. However, I feel like creativity is expressed in dozens of ways, such as getting dressed in the morning, crafting a text message, telling a joke or story, or just in daydreaming. I think creativity means taking something generic or familiar and thinking about it in news ways and adapting it to fit your own needs and style.
What are some other ways you express your own creativity? Artistically or in other ways?