Play with it. Vary it. Experiment.
I’ve heard that refrain all my life. I’ve even given that advice to others. All in the realm of story-telling. What if? Then what? Make it more extreme. Hand me a writing utensil (electronic or mechanical, keyboard or pencil) and I’m in my favorite playground.
But when my physical therapist told me the same things about exercise – play with it, vary it, experiment – I was at a loss. How do you vary a sit-up or a push-up or a lunge? How do I vary my walking – speed, length of stride, width of stride – then I’m stumped. My PT had no trouble. He came up with dance-like moves, diagonals, heel raises. I could copy him. But my creativity does not extend into the physical realm. I can make combinations of what I know, but new moves? They never occur to me.
My talents do not extend to music – not to playing or to composing, and certainly not to singing.
I’m no artist. I can follow techniques, combine colors – but create my own style? Convey my own message? My brain doesn’t work that way.
I always thought I was creative. But my creativity only plays in the realm of words and ideas.
Writerly creativity comes so easily to me that I thought it could be taught, inspired, cajoled, teased out in others. I thought perhaps people who claimed not to be creative were simply afraid to try something new. And with a little encouragement, they too could enjoy one of my favorite activities.
I do think that everybody has creativity. But maybe their does not work in the world of language. Perhaps it is in dance, or art, or some field I haven’t even thought of.
There are far more things to be creative about than dreamt of in the mind of a writer.