January 3rd, 2011 by Carrie Vaughn
Other Kinds of Creativity

Happy New Year!  Welcome back to the blog!

Last MileHi Con, I moderated a panel about other creative outlets writers have.  Because it turns out a lot of writers do other amazing creative work.  It seems counterintuitive — wouldn’t someone who spends their professional life being creative want to do something a little less, well, mentally strenuous in her down time?  On the contrary, writing and other creative activities seem to go hand in hand.  Remember Lynn talking about how quilting and storytelling are the same?  Sasha’s a photographer.  Novelist Janny Wurts also paints her own covers.  Oh, to have that ability!  Author and editor Terri Windling is also an artist of note.  Many artists are also musicians.  Emma Bull has played in bands, no doubt a big influence on her novel War for the Oaks, which is about a folk-rock band.  Fellow Wild Cards writer Stephen Leigh is an avid musician.  And of course there’s the Rock Bottom Remainders, the occasional rock band made up of bestselling authors like Stephen King and Amy Tan.

For me, the other creative things that I do besides writing — crafting and costuming — use different parts of my brain.  When I sit down with fabric and yarn and patterns, I can almost feel a different part of my brain switching on — a tactile, physical part.  I’m using my hands, and the things I make are physical and instantly apparent, unlike a novel or a story, which at most exist on a flat sheet of paper, and still need my intellectual brain to experience it.  Unlike handling a skein of yarn.  I must admit, I also love the instant gratification of working for a few hours and ending up with a scarf or a skirt I can show off.

Also, it’s really nice to do something creative that I don’t have to put out there, that I know isn’t going to be judged.  That I can just do without trying to make it the best.  I get the satisfaction of being creative, and my writing brain still gets the rest it needs.

Some days, I really need to step away from the keyboard, and it’s nice to have the distraction.  And nice to have something to show for it (unlike what happens when I just sit in front of the TV for a couple of hours).

Here’s the nifty scarf I made last fall, which became a gift to a friend.  Not bad for just having learned to knit last spring!  See, first I learned how to spin wool. . .then I needed to learn to knit so I could do something with all that wool yarn I was making. . .


Do you have a much needed artistic distraction?

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9 comments to “Other Kinds of Creativity”

  1. Dawn
     · January 3rd, 2011 at 9:39 am · Link

    Beautiful scarf! I have far too many creative distractions – I love photography and cross stitching, but I’ll sometimes take courses out of the blue to rouse the creative juices. Like interior design, and learning to dance.

  2. M. McGriff
     · January 3rd, 2011 at 11:05 am · Link

    That is a gorgeous scarf!

    I’m not the best when it comes to crafty things but a great creative distraction I have is dancing. Though I haven’t taken classes for years now, dancing alone in my livingroom like a crazy woman does the trick! 😉

  3. Andrew McKay
     · January 3rd, 2011 at 12:00 pm · Link

    I don’t know if it is creative or not, but sure doing it is being creative. At my job of being Mall Public Safety Officer (Mall Cop) I get to let out a lot of the stress, then at home I play video games, right now the sims 3. Now when the snow melts away, and my heart warms up, the golf clubs get cleaned and I go golfing. I was actually hoping that someday, my writing could advance my golfing career. I can dream can’t I (LOL). I tried once to write a golf story, but I sooned learned that a Golf Story is bringing my two passions too close together and it was getting hard to seperate. So to answer the Questin my other creative part of me is Golf and video games. And for you golfers out there, I was down to a 4 handicap before I stopped golfing for awhile.

  4. Sue O'Shields
     · January 3rd, 2011 at 8:53 pm · Link

    Like everyone noted, it’s a lovely scarf! Anything I knit wouldn’t be worthy of putting on a snowman!

    I’m a photographer, a recipe experimenter, and I love playing in Photoshop, for both my photography and just graphic design. Occasionally I’ll mess about with writing limericks.

  5. Catherine Sims
     · January 3rd, 2011 at 9:06 pm · Link

    Speaking as a long time knitter, the scarf is very nicely done!

  6. November Durand
     · January 3rd, 2011 at 10:07 pm · Link

    I am a film director in training, a photographer, an artist (albeit a fairly mediocre one) and I make jewelry. So yeah, got a little creativity going on. :)

  7. Carrie Vaughn
     · January 4th, 2011 at 12:07 pm · Link

    Thanks for the comments on the scarf!

    How knitting is like writing: you see that pattern written down with all its codes and letters and numbers, and you have no idea how it’s going to turn out, but if you do the work, keep plugging away at it, the pattern will emerge in the yarn…it’s like working from my outlines. I have no idea how the final book will look but it always seems to come out right.

  8. Erin
     · January 4th, 2011 at 12:59 pm · Link

    My primary interest in writing (I write short stories and am currently planning for a novel), but I have a number of creative outlets: I sing, play the piano and guitar, make jewelry, candles and other crafty things, and I like to scrapbook. Sadly, I also have a full-time, full-stress day job, which means the amount of time I can dedicate to my non-writing pursuits is limited.

  9. Liz Kreger
     · January 4th, 2011 at 5:26 pm · Link

    Gorgeous scarf, Carrie. When I ilk out the time from my full time job with a law firm, my other outlet is gardening. I gotta admit that I have wonderful gardens in my little corner of the world and I enjoy puttering around in it. I also scrapbook, which is something my young daughter got me into. I find that I really enjoy it.

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