Creativity is a form of energy. It has much in common with other forms of energy, and much that is unique.
One aspect that is common is that creative energy needs to be grounded. It has to be based in something that is honest and true – the human condition, in human feelings and interactions.
If you write fiction you understand that there are a small number of basic plots. What we feed into our computer is merely our own take on one of them. No matter how avant-garde we think we are, how we have built our own fully furnished unique twenty-fifth century world, how we have twisted steam punk to our own designs – we still are building on one of the basic plots.
Creativity is what allows us to spin our own web over the age-old plot. Take the old basic, dress it up fancy and take it to the ball. Uncover facets that we think are new, or at least new for this generation, and strut them down the catwalk.
I used to find it rather depressing that all the basic plots had been stated and used a gazillion times. Then I realized that this is the grounding, the launch pad, the firm ground from which we take off. We have an infinite number of directions in which to go and many modes of transportation to carry our imaginings.
But we are grounded in the human reality of those basic plots. We bring to them that creative energy that is so unique to each individual writer. We were born with this, rather like an extra chromosome. Our own creative imagination is a special gift that can take the ordinary and make it sublime.
But we also mold this imagination through our own life experiences, beliefs and outlook on life. Our reality and our integrity are the basis for the new worlds we create, the creatures from unknown planets, the emotions of a historical figure a thousand years ago. They are all grounded in our personal reality.
We have molded them from our own personal clay. Yes, we have researched and edited and done all the practical stuff – that’s just the mechanics. Our creativity comes from a special layer of energy that asks inquisitive questions that no-one else seems to ask and builds a beautiful tower or garden from an ordinary response.
You’re a writer. You have that creative energy. You have grounded it in the classic plot ideas and in your own individual strength and integrity. This sets you free to discover and share fictional truths that are uniquely yours.