The Ebb and Flow of Creativity

Throughout my school years, I wrote.

I started writing stories when I was 9 years old and I still have the yellowing lined paper, covered in pencil scribblings to prove it.

A collection of stories I wrote when I was 9-12 years old

I started my stories by making a cover page with pencil crayons, writing two and three pages of narrative in pencil and finalizing each “book” with a staple in the top left corner.

It’s interesting to look at the evolution of my story writing.  I began so basic, with a page of narrative…just writing, no divisions or sections or chapters. But in White Beauty (seen above), my narrative included chapters and illustrations for the first time.  I can only assume that was due to exposure to other books and novels, as I was quite an avid reader as a child.

The development of Chapters!


Eventually I evolved and started adding illustrations…still in pencil…fairly stick-figurish in style but illustrations nonetheless.

One of my first illustrations!

Illustration from a later story "The Spell"

This preceded the evolution of a dedication, a table of contents, plus a back cover with a synopsis of the story.

Table of Contents

First dedication

Finally, as I reached grade 7, I created an actual typewritten manuscript in place of pencil scratch.  Throughout my years in junior high school, I had an old-fashioned typewriter, complete with carriage and a spool of ink ribbon.  It lived in a hard case, similar to a small suitcase and to this day, I wish I had kept it.

I still have my manuscripts, typed during my tumultuous junior high school years, covered in liquid paper with smudged letters proving my impatience and inability to wait for the white fluid to dry.

With high school came the electric typewriter.  I remember that one of the biggest differences, aside from how *easy* the keys were to press, was that my new typewriter had a built-in correction ribbon!  To erase a letter, all I had to do was push a button!  This typewriter I do still have tucked away, but the classic typewriter that started off my love of writing had much more character and dare I say charisma than the electric.

Similar to the electric typewriter I had in high school

I continued to write throughout high school and into college.  Typing, scribbling, pen, pencil…sometimes in bound books of notepaper, sometimes on the backs of envelopes.

The one constant piece of writing, that began when I was twelve, is my  journal writing.  I have kept journals ever since grade seven and have a number of books filled from cover to cover with musings, poetry, sparks of understanding and deep black wells of young adult drama.  I am quite proud of the fact that my journal writing has never ceased.  Sometimes there are months between entries and other times I write every day for weeks, sometimes two and three times a day.  The pace varies, but the action continues.

Unfortunately, the sad part to all of this is that the journal writing is *all* that has continued.  The desire to write poetry and novels has been dormant for years.  Every so often, I have the urge to put pen to paper and a vague plot line or character description drips from my pen, but more often than not, I simply live with the urge to write.  The ever-present itch reminding me that once, stories streamed out of me in violent waves and the inspiration seemed never-ending but that for the longest time now, that ability has remained dormant and unreachable.

Recently, a very wise friend  and I were chatting over coffee.  I was bemoaning the lack of creativity and telling her how I seemed to get a wave of inspiration when I spent time with friends who are also writers, only to lose it after a few days without their company.  She could relate and we agreed that forcing myself to write was the first step.

Various books I’ve read on writing say just that and I have to agree.  Write.  Write anything.  Write about how you can’t seem to write anything.  Just put the pen to paper.

I have been doing that, with some success…which makes me incredibly happy!

The other thought that we discussed over coffee was that, to a certain extent, not writing is a choice.  Somewhere along the way, I made that choice.  I may not know that I did.  I can’t pinpoint the day it happened.  But at some point, some time…a little voice told me “you’re done, you can’t write anymore” and I believed it.  I have inadvertently believed that fallacy for quite some time now.

No more.

I am putting a pen to paper again; writing random scenes, dialogue, plot points.  They aren’t in any order, and sometimes the characters change gender depending on the idea I’m running with in the moment, but at this point, my pen is channeling my words onto paper and that is a victory!

I don’t know where my writing will take me.  On a tour of my life, allowing new personal growth of understanding of my world, or perhaps outside of my little world, giving me a glimpse of all that which is bigger than me.  Who knows?  Who cares!

I’m filling up notebooks with thoughts, scenes, characters, words and, at this point,  that is the most important thing!