In my recent post about why I’m the Worst Blogger Ever, I received sage advice from the always charming Tom Myer, as well as thought-provoking commentary from my friend and garden designer, Kirsten Bartel. Here’s a little of what Kirsten had to say in response to my ramblings:
“It reminded me of a discussion we once had, Ileenieweenie, about the creative process. I remember asking you if you thought your graphic design work was creative, had an artistic process, and you told me ‘no’. That was a long time ago and I don’t know if you’ve changed your mind about that, but it could be part of the difficulty you’re having right now with writing – are you struggling with the creative process?”
Oh how cynical I once was. Kirsten is probably right—I do struggle with the creative process—but that’s not the only issue. Using my profession as an example, the process of graphic design is a skill that can be taught/learned. While creativity (a soft skill) may be practiced/developed/massaged, it’s not what I would consider a tangible skill set.
I’ve obtained design ability through study and practice. Creativity is a little trickier. Yes, it takes some creativity to come up with interesting ways to interpret and present information in a visually pleasing format, but there are fundamental design principles that help guide the process, thereby preventing graphic design from being an all-out “art.” Also, I can design when I’m having a creative block because I gots mad skillz. Writing? Not so much.
I think writing is an extremely creative process. However, just as with design, I’ve found that the creativity usually shines through only after the skills have been developed. It is hard to creatively communicate or express myself with words when I can’t get the ideas out of my head due to lack of ability and general boneheadedness. And then there’s the guilt I feel for polluting the interwebs—I live in fear of my blog contributing to global warming since I am generally full of doo-doo.