A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress

Why it's important to pursue more than one mode of creative expression.

Wikipedia Commons

Creative moments often strike without warning. Sometimes it's after listening to music, watching an episode of your favorite show, or simply noticing something miraculous that stands out from the ordinary humdrum of life. I truly believe that everyone experiences inspiration differently. When I do, I feel, for the lack of a better word, full. What's trapped inside needs to be released, and for the longest time, I've let it escape through words. Yet, on occasion, words are rendered useless to guide my inspiration. So, the feeling is left to wither inside me, like a balloon that slowly deflates.

This past week, I experienced one of those feelings. As the inspiration bubbled up inside me, I knew it was nothing I could write about. So, for the first time in three years, I picked up a pencil and started to draw.

As a child, I drew incessantly, filling up sketchbook after sketchbook. I wasn't particularly gifted, but I liked what I produced enough to keep going. It's a wonder I learned anything in middle school; my notebooks contained more doodles than notes. Yet, as the years went by, life started to get more complicated. There wasn't time to doodle anymore. Then, after steering myself into a career in writing after high school, the drawing stopped completely.

In truth, I've let more inspiration slip away in the past few years than I ever have before. When you rely on a single mode of expressing yourself, a lot of creativity goes to waste. I used to play piano, sing in a choir, draw, dance, take ceramics classes, try out for plays, and paint. Yet, for some reason, each of these modes of expression dropped off my radar, either because I didn't think I was good enough to pursue them, or that I simply didn't have time.

I now know that giving up on everything but writing was a mistake. Words can only do so much. More often then I would like to admit, they don't completely entrap the thoughts swirling in my head. I also know that I'm certainly not the first person to discover this.

What I drew was far from a masterpiece. After all, three years without practice will leave a nice layer of rust on any skill, but it did the trick. The full feeling disappeared, and I was left with the satisfaction that I didn't waste it.

I certainly don't plan on taking up every expressive activity I once pursued. (I was right about being terrible at some of them.) However, adding some of them back into my life will be worth my while, even if it's just a doodle here, or a song sung in the shower there.

Every moment of creativity should be pursued, even if the end result is a little sloppy. One day, a masterpiece is bound to be born.

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