“Writing – Is It Creative?”
Published February 24, 2013 only on mbtimetraveler.com
Most people think as an author and a magazine columnist that I create new things and new stories. Oddly, the answer is yes and no. We are the sum of our neural connections and memories. I do not believe you can create anything new. All you can do is take what is already in your head, and mix and match it into something new. A good friend and fellow author disagreed with me. In fact, he intentionally made up a name at random and put it in his story. He was very proud to “prove me wrong.” That week, he made the same turn he always did on his way home and noticed a small sign – with his entirely random name on it. He changed the name in his story – to another random one, and went on his way, maybe a little more interested in my theory.
Throughout history, there are certain motifs, stories, and character archetypes which have been laid down in verbal tradition, through religion, stories, movies, TV, pretty much every interaction you have with your fellow man. Here it is in the Bible:
New International Version (NIV)
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
So how then do you come up with “new” ideas if there is nothing “new”? Stephen King in On Writing said as an author you should at least as much time reading as you do writing. The more inputs you have, the more combinations can be made. I have read at least one book a week since I was twelve. I estimate I have read around 4,000 books. I watch movies, I travel to new places, try new things, eat new foods. People you meet, movies you see, conversations you have, failures and successes in careers all stay inside that grey matter in magical ways.
So, in my own opinion, the only way to be “creative” in your writing, is to constantly explore, learn and put more little bits of potential into your head. Mine usually come together best in that twilight moment of falling asleep. I have written chapters, even entire books in my head as I drift off. For some reason, for me, that is the time when all those life bits and memories swirl around in a big ocean and rejoin to make original patterns out of old data.
Writing is creative for sure. Writing is even original to everyone else who reads it, because they do not share all the bits and pieces that you do in your brain. They see with a different collection of fragments floating in their ocean. But to me, as a writer, I know everything I write came from somewhere else, even if I don’t know what strange combination floated together.
For more information about Michael Bradley and his work, follow these links.
The Travelers’ Club and the Ghost Ship
The Travelers’ Club – Fire and Ash