Make War, Not Love: Be Creative

Make War, Not Love: Be Creative

I’m prejudiced, of course, but here’s what I think: one of the most honest, authentic, powerful, difficult things any human being can do is be creative. This is true whether you’re writing books, painting pictures, choreographing dance moves, or baking pastries. It’s true of nail art, it’s true of interior decorating, and it’s true of carpentry. It’s true of professional artists who make their living off their creativity, and it’s true of the amateur photographer, taking family photos.

As dancer Twyla Tharp said,

Creativity Is an Act of Defiance Twyla Tharp

I’d take it one (possibly melodramatic) turn farther and say that being creative is an act of war.

Creativity Is for the Fighters

Every act of creativity is a challenge thrown out to our fellow human beings. It rocks the status quo. It doesn’t matter what is being created, the very act is a challenge to rise above mediocrity and do something.

That’s as exciting as it is frightening.

Creativity is innate in humans. I believe none of us are complete unless we’re able to express that creativity through some medium. But creativity is also scary. It’s a baring of the soul, it’s a revelation of truth about ourselves — what we like and dislike, what we believe, how the world makes us feel. Despite the fact that most of our revelations are surprisingly universal and mundane, we’re still scared to show ourselves.

And why not? As Tharp says, that act is one of the most defiant things a human can do in the face of a world that continually pushes us into apathy, complacency, and conformity.

As much as creativity scares us, it scares everybody else too. And scared people often react in negative ways. Creating is hard; criticizing is easy.

What’s Your Battle Cry?

If you want to go with the flow, if you want to avoid leaving your mark on the world, if you want to never face ridicule or criticism — then don’t create.

But if you want to feel alive, if you want to be authentic, if you want to rattle the stars — then declare war and start creating. It doesn’t matter what you create — whether it’s a novel, a flower garden, or a weird little statue made out of paper clips. Whatever it is, put yourself out there today and create something.

It might be scary. It might scare other people. Maybe that’s the whole point.

Let’s chat! What are you going to create today? Tell me in the comments!

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  1. Well, some days I’d much rather make love, 😛 Which I think is more innate than being creative. 😛

    Opening yourself to criticism, though often mild by comparison, is highly risky.

    I think authors have to be a bit masochistic too, if not sadistic – punishing their characters in many creative ways.

    Perhaps we need to be both? 😉

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Actually, I think if we really turn this whole thing around, we see that once we get past the “war” part of creativity (to whatever degree), that creativity *is* a tremendously loving act. I believe the most important thing any human being can do on this planet is be his or her best self. Creativity, in so many ways, is that best and most authentic self. When we’re creative, we make the world better. I believe that.

  2. LOVE IT. You took the gloves off in this one. AND you mentioned Twyla Tharp. NAILED IT AGAIN. What’s your battle cry? YES. That’s number three. Out. Of. The. Ball park.

    I just finished the first book in the Game of Thrones. A Song of Ice and Fire. So the battlecries are still fresh in my mind. The Starks of Winterfell marched against the House of Lannister at Casterly Rock. Banners were raised. Armies were assembled and the trumpets were sounded. Then you heard all the men’s battlecries. Some unto valor in life, and some unto death. Must’ve been quite a sound.

    Creativity is my passion. My raiment, my heart. My blood. My beastly sigil. My pleasure and summerwine. All wrapped up into one. Fun.

    What am I going to do creative today? I haven’t the slightest clue. But that’s the beauty of it. It’s it own animal. Just let it be. Let it prowl, feed on the wild. It knows what to do. Anything innate is instinctual. It works according to the law of life that it was born with. How does a whale know to send its sounds a thousand miles across the deep? Who taught them? Hmm. Not me. Did I teach the peacock to spread his feathers and attract a mate? Nope. Creativity is innate. And the mind boggling part to me is that it seems to both a conscious and subconscious phenomenon. Blows me away.

    Keep the gloves off. Give em a knuckle sandwich.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      This is a rally cry in itself! “Creativity is my beastly sigil”–I’m going to have to do something with that. Put it my wall or something.

  3. It is not easy to create but today I will bare my soul a bit more and work on some poems that are in varying stages of completion…and have been for too long now. As I read your piece, realized I’ve been resisting baring my soul. This was a leap forward, thank you for showing me this through your post today! 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      Good for you! It’s been a goal in the back of my head for a long time now to start working on poetry on a daily basis, just for fun mostly, and to hone wordcraft. But I have yet to get around to making time for it. My bad.

      • The wordcraft is what draws me to poetry! The more I write poetry, the more I wonder if I am suited to fiction writing at all. Any way to tell for sure? Hope you get the opportunity to do some poetry writing in! It’s very nourishing to the spirit:)

        • K.M. Weiland says:

          I think it just comes down to whichever draws you. No reason to force yourself to do one if you’re enjoying the other more.

      • Would love to see your poetic prowess.

        • K.M. Weiland says:

          Hah. That may take awhile. 😉

          • OK, here’s my challenge to you, KM. Beat this:

            S-hiny metal, much desired,
            I-n its name have wars been fought.
            L-abor brought it up from mines,
            V-alue given, value got.
            E-ntrusted to a banker’s care,
            R-eplaced with paper backed by naught.

  4. Arrhg. I’m pulling my hair out lately. What to do with all this STUFF I’ve created. And I keep making more. Words piled upon words. Paint upon paint. Project upon project. Uhg.

  5. Suspect it will be the poetry that will be ‘the one’ 😉

  6. Michelle says:

    Excellent post. As always. Today I am melting wax, and mixing tumeric and trying my hand at Batik. It’s going to be awesome.

  7. This is true:) maybe short fiction instead of novel..seem to have a shortish attention span…

  8. I started with poetry which led to fiction writing. Also love photography. I’m a sucker for visuals. Always appreciate the ones this site. I would love to make my own creatives for Getty or iStock images. I’ll write a poem today about what inspires me. Another creative endeavor is I’m creating different legal systems for my WIP. Fun stuff.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I did graphic design once upon a time. I loved it. But the mouse work messed up my wrists and life got too busy with writing, so I moved on from it for the most part.

  9. YES! Thank you for this post. I tend to take criticism way too personally, and am something of a people-pleaser by nature (as in, I really care about what people think about me, my work, etc.), so it can be easy for me to worry too much about how others will react to my writing.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      This is natural–and something most of struggle with. There is a lot of peace in coming to a place where you can surrender having to care so much what people think. Not saying I’m there yet, but I’m working on it. 😉

  10. Reread this post again because I really enjoyed it. Content creation can be hard, and so can criticism. But your response is great:

    “if you want to feel alive, if you want to be authentic, if you want to rattle the stars — then declare war and start creating”

    YES, I love it. Be authentic and rattle the stars sister. Make some waves and feel alive in the process. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Shake it off, shake it off–Taylor Swift

    The haters are going to hate regardless. The critics will do what they do best. But that shouldn’t stop us from what we do the best. We’re artists, creatives, writers and poets. If the world doesn’t like what I create so be it. Just be yourself and aim for the stars.

    • K.M. Weiland says:

      I’ve never been a Taylor Swift fan, but I have to admit, I kinda like that song. 😉

      And back atcha!

  11. I have to disagree. Creativity is an act of inspiration, creation, bringing life… not death to bear. Making peanut butter cookies, I don’t consider creaming butter(s), eggs, sugar & vanilla a frontal assault on boredom or high fructose corn syrup; nor adding a cup of chocolate chips at the end a surprise flanking maneuver.

    Creativity, for me, is therapeutic a mini-retreat/reprieve from the real and relentless battles being fought for heart and mind. When I ‘bake cookies’/ build something, I’m not challenging others to ‘get off their keisters’ and do the same, but rather maybe inspire them to try the recipe, or take on that weekend project, for the joy and reward inherent in each.


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