If we sit and try to make up how something looks or sounds or tastes, or how our readers might feel by reading a particular passage, then our art may come across as being false. This is something our inner critic may throw up to convince us that creating is not our strength.
There is something to having first-hand experience, but it's not required to create. An idea to try out in order to out-think the inner critic, is speed. It's as if the faster we write, paint or play an instrument, then it takes thought out of it and allows the Muse to create through us. Then we can say we've done our best, that we've created our truth.
This is what experts refer to as 'writing what you know'. And for part of what we do when we create, we begin there. But that doesn't mean that we don't write stories that contain elements that we know nothing about. How particular characters act or respond may be based on our own personalities or people that we know. But we don't have to stay in the 'known' in setting, plot, or character.
When people ask where we get our ideas, sometimes we don't know. However, even if we're not consciously filing away the things we see, hear, taste, smell, touch, or experience, it does get saved, and if we engage with the Muse, then we recreate those sensual inputs in our writing, painting, prepared meals, or dance.
Ever wonder what The Muse is? It's nothing tangible. Many artists believe it to be our subconscious. Therefore, every one of us can be creative if we so choose. All of our life experiences are stored away, and because we are unique our take on the world is the only one there is for us. Even if we share ideas and opinions with others, our view of things are still our own, colored with our perceptions.
Sometimes, we spend hours locked away creating, and our well can run dry. How do we refill it? By filling the senses. We go to a play, a museum, a concert, a gallery, or a movie. We take ourselves to the zoo, on a picnic, or fix a four-course meal. Julia Cameron refers to these as 'artist dates'. How else are we to replenish what we use up than by giving ourselves more experiences?
We continue to feed the Muse by reading wide. Poems, essays, short stories, and novels. We can absorb the words, the descriptions, love or dislike the characters, the vocabulary, the setting, pieces of the plot. If we've been starving ourselves in terms of experiences, whole body or those of the senses, it's never too late to change, to alter how and where and with whom we spend our time, and thus, how we keep our Muse fed. We might be surprised as to what we can create if we keep our well full, our Muse fed, start with what we know, and create faster than our inner critic can toss out negative thoughts.
Michele Venne published her first novel in 2008, which was followed by another five novels and two collections of poetry. All of her books include an introductory "Dear Reader" letter and concludes with "Questions to Ponder", as she encourages readers to contemplate their opinions and beliefs of societal ills. Michele lives near Cave Creek, Arizona, and devotes herself to the joys of riding her horses, tutoring, writing, and yoga. http://www.myjoyenterprises.com
The winner of the 2014 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry is Andrew Motion, for his radio performance Coming Home.
Also announced are the winners of the Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition. First Prize goes to Roger Philip Dennis for his poem 'Corkscrew Hill Photo', 2nd to Joanne Key and 3rd to Fran Lock. The judges also chose eight other commended poets.