Creativity, Expanded

IMG_0163“How has your creative life changed,” the IWSG question o’ the month asks, “since you began writing?”

Wait…since I started writing?

Well, I hit puberty, graduated high school and college, started (and ended) a couple of careers…

Okay, let’s limit that, then.  How about this: since I started writing seriously…since I started writing intentionally.   Yeah, that’ll work a hell of a lot better as a starting point than my years of random, impulsive, and inconsistent dives into it as a hobby.

Err…

That’s still a harder one to answer than you might think.  The “expansion” of my creative life into photography and music predates my “serious” writing.*  I still owe those creative outlets to writing, mind you — or, at least, to the creative urges that underlie my writing — but the timing is, umm, complicated.

*Hell, I never could have afforded photography as a writer!  Just to start up, I needed everything I was paid as a (miserably unhappy) sales & marketing monkey…

No, the biggest change to my creative life that I can attribute to serious writing is, well, getting outside of my authorial comfort zone.  Crap, this blog itself is a great example of that.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a very private person.  Very private.  I never would have even considered an effort like Seat at the Bar without the lessons I learned, and the benefits I gained, from creative writing. And I certainly would never have come anywhere close to opening myself up with admissions about depression and talk about suicide…

But not even that is the biggest change. Nope, not even close.

No, the biggest change is something I (now) do on a semi-regular basis: microfiction.

Look, you all know — you know because I’ve told you often enough! — that I’m a long-form writer.  Short fiction and I just don’t get along. Oh, we tried to date and get together, but we just couldn’t make it work, so we went our separate ways in the end.  Oh, we would occasionally see each other at parties, but all we’d do is smile awkwardly and move to opposite corners of the room.

Well, since I started writing intentionally and consistently, I…err…well…  Okay, there’s no way around it, no way to sugar-coat it: I started drunk-dialing short fiction from time to time.  Nowadays, when we get together, things are still awkward and uncomfortable, but…ahem…the sex is actually pretty good…

I mean, really, c’mon — I spend three to six months just preparing to write a 125,000-word story, and now I’m posting — publicly, mind you! — 200-500 word pieces I write in under an hour?!

That’s just crazy-talk!

Crazy-talk it might be, but it’s a craziness that actually feels good.  It’s an outlet I never, ever thought I would use…and now I can’t see not spending a couple of hours a week on flash-fiction.  That is so far outside of any comfort-zone I’ve ever had, that I’m still not sure it’s entirely sane…

Shit, even when I was pretending* to be an extrovert during my sales career, I wasn’t this far outside of what is normal and natural for me!sticker,375x360-bg,ffffff.u5

*Fake it ‘til you make it!

And I owe it to the confidence and comfort I gained from writing.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

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