I Can Do That

There is only one thing you need to create. Four simple words heard in whatever your minds voice happens to be, felt deep to the core where no doubt can reach. Those four words?

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This is the most crucial moment in any creative endeavor, which ultimately fuels the creative drive until your lack of coordination and physics prove you wrong. But in nearly every instance I follow that voice in my head to give it a try, something amazing happens.

One of the most notable events happened while I was perusing the arts and crafts section in Barnes and Noble with my mother trying to use up a gift card I had burning in my pocket. I was in a reading slump at the time, so books weren’t exactly doing it for me. I didn’t expect to come out with anything.

So while I waited for her to look through her quilting books I stumbled one section over in with the jewelry/mixed media and this bright earthy gold book caught my attention.

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Steampunk wasn’t as popular then and was pretty much still an underground thing when I came across this book. This was literally the first moment I heard of it in any context. And I was hooked, victorian fashion with industrial accents tickled a part of my brain I didn’t realize could be tickled.

The reason was one single pattern. A simple ring that once I read the instructions I instantly knew I could make it.

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Of course, I bought the book immediately as at that point I had never experienced the “I Can Do That” beyond one fun afternoon in fourth grade on the rug writing my first short story.  But sadly being unemployed too, I couldn’t out of the blue stock a full jewelry workshop. So I had to improvise. And improvise I did.

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All I had was garden wire, bottle caps, and beads. But I still think I managed to make something neat and interesting. Not at all terrible for my very first jewelry making attempt. Not great I admit, but the point is I could do it and I did.

And when you see where I’m at now with my homegrown designs, I feel confident in saying that I have certainly picked the right creative field to play in.

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So point the first, when you hear that voice just follow it. It knows what you’re capable of more than your rational adult ego.

Point the second, this applies to writing as well. No one knows better than I that you cannot write successfully without the voice saying you can. And if you cannot naturally produce this voice in your head like some insanely prolific writers, there is only one way I know of that you can feed it.

You need to read.

This is the one piece of sage advice I hated once upon a time when I was full of writerly pride and naive confidence. I believe I tossed Stephen Kings On Writing to the floor for him suggesting this very thing. Like somehow I wasn’t a real writer because I didn’t read enough.

Because a teenaged novice and unpublished writer obviously knows more than one of the most successful and recognized authors in all modern English fiction, right?

I know now, as I just finished rereading The Gunslinger, nothing makes me think I can write more than reading a story and realizing that at some point there was just a man or a woman sitting at a desk with the story only in their head. Just like me. And somehow they succeeded in getting it free.

So read, feed the writing beast within and attack the fiendish blank page with the blood of the novels you have slaughtered. And really, just have fun.

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