Finding Creativity in the Everyday
By Scott Keen
Nine years ago, I remember sitting outside watching my oldest daughter (who was less than 1 year old) playing under a patch of pine trees. All around us lay a carpet of the pine needles, brown and bunched into three strands. As I picked a bunch up, I noticed how they looked like three spindly fingers. That was the beginning of a race of beings called the Dendron that you will find in my book, Scar of the Downers.
The thing about creativity is you have to know where to look for it. All around us there are hints of the fantastic, and to see it, you must view the world in a different way. Our children already do it. The stick on the ground can be a gun, a sword, or even a spatula. The tree can be home base, a house, or even another world.
I stay at home with my four daughters, and that gives me ample time to see how kids are effortless with imagining and creating. They build elaborate worlds to play in where they don’t even need any toys. They just run around, sometimes with dress-up clothes and props, and sometimes not.
Part of fostering creativity in my life is just doing the things that my children already do. Asking the question “What if…?” and then not censoring myself with the answer. It’s the basic beginning point when you are thinking of any kind of story. I believe that this kind of imagining is something that adults don’t do enough of, even though I would bet that anyone would perform better in the workplace if they did.
The mundane jobs that surround a stay-at-home dad do another thing for me… I constantly feel the need to challenge myself in the realm of the creative because it can so easily atrophy. Just like I had to buy a chin-up bar because I was feeling stagnant physically, I have to stir up my creativeness daily to keep my imagination flexible and active. I sometimes play my guitar and tweak a song that I’ve written. Or sometimes I work on a manuscript (currently I’m working on the sequel to Scar of the Downers and also a musical I hope to produce and direct this year). Or, sometimes I just design something with Legos or wooden blocks with my kids. Occasionally, I’ll design and build for real, like a table or a bench or something else that we need. And sometimes, I just try to think differently about the things around me – like could those holly leaves be the shape of the Dendron’s shield? Or could this flower be the iris of another creature?
Finding creativity in the everyday can be difficult since it’s so easy to lose oneself in watching too much TV, playing too many video games, or even just keeping the house picked up. What’s important is that I shouldn’t let my creative self languish. Like all good things, you have to work at it.
Thank you to Wow! Women on Writing for providing this stop on Scott Keen's blog tour!
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About the Author:
Scott Keen grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn't want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing--he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he homeschools. He blogs at www.scottkeenbooks.com.
About Scar of the Downers:
Branded on the slaves in the Northern Reaches beyond Ungstah, the scar marks each one as a Downer. It is who they are. There is no escaping this world. Still, strange things are stirring.
Two foreigners ride through the Northern Reaches on a secret mission. An unknown cloaked figure wanders the streets of the dark city of Ungstah. What they want no one can be sure, but it all centers around a Downer named Crik.
Crik, too scared to seek freedom, spends his days working in his master's store, avoiding the spirit-eating Ash Kings while scavenging food for himself and his best friend, Jak. Until he steals from the wrong person. When Jak is sold to satisfy the debt, Crik burns down his master's house and is sentenced to death.