writers / writing

#IWSG–Am I Creative Enough

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – Am I creative enough?

When I was younger, I avoided anything creative. Because I’m not–creative. I couldn’t make those cutesie classroom creations other moms wowed kids with. I could help my children with math and science, but not writing a story. I was great at grammar, spelling, sentence construction,  and following rules, but cringed at breaking rules.

Arguably, that’s the core to creativity: Know when to break the rules.

My first novel (which I’m still working on, fifteen years later) is heavily based on research and history. I could map out how it would start and end and what could be included, but ran into trouble when it came to putting life into my characters. Many critiquers said it sounded like a textbook (I even had footnotes in early versions). When no one was interested in publishing it, I put it aside and tried to do what one well-intentioned agent suggested: Bring it into the modern era.

Where I ran into more trouble. Without the inspiration of fact, my characters stood there like Mario in Donkey Kong, waiting for instructions. I had no idea what to tell them.

Kurt Vonnegut said:


This month–I can feel it–my wings will grow.

More IWSG articles:

Am I getting too old?

When does technical become boring

My Plot Has Been Co-opted

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. 

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43 thoughts on “#IWSG–Am I Creative Enough

  1. Pingback: #IWSG February–Am I creative? | WordDreams...

  2. When I first began writing, my story suffered from all sorts of problems I couldn’t see at first. But with time and perseverance, I’m making progress. I’m pretty sure you’re more than creative enough.


  3. They say that as long as you are busy ‘creating’, then the well of creativity will never dry up. So I’m thinking that the trick is to just keep on keeping on. Which is exactly what you’ve been doing.
    Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday, Jacqui! 🙂
    Hope you have a wonderful and productive 2015!
    Writer In Transit


  4. I find this fascinating, because it is never a question I have asked myself. If anything, I am far too creative for normal life. My challenge is always how to find the time to produce the things my muse inspires me to do and make a buck as well, but I do ask myself constantly – If I’m good enough, and the answer to both is the same – do it anyway. Thanks for the reminder.


  5. I think you can turn a weakness into a strength – the same way you would if you were having an obstacle in a work environment. You sound like you approach things in a systematic way – maybe you could read books or short stories where the characters come alive for you and examine how those authors breathe life into the characters.


  6. I love your positive attitude – this feels like a January saturated in all things new and inspiring. Creativity can come in many forms so I’m sure you’re so much more creative than you know. When you were helping your children with their homework, I’m sure you explained things in an interesting and unique way. Plus when it comes to language…it’s all about the creation 🙂


  7. Not being creative used to be the biggest road block to my writing. I’m not this Bohemian sort of creative type. I am a book nerd who gets excited by the smell of a library and love to do research. I finally decided good writers are just word nerds and I let it go.


  8. When you write the first draft, forget the rules. Tell yourself that you’ll fix it later. And when later comes, don’t touch the voice or style of the piece which may mean leaving some rules broken. It’s for the greater good, Jacqui. You can do it. 🙂

    Here’s my link if you’d like to drop by 🙂

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette


  9. I too, don’t know if I’m creative enough, but like you said, I spread my wings and am trying. I write slowly, not fast like some others I know, but I have finished six novels so I guess I’m doing okay. Insecurity is such a pain in the arse! Thanks for writing about it. Helps to know I’m not alone… Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I like the set up of yours. I’m wanting to change mine this year…


  10. there are so many different ways people can be and are creative, that I can’t imagine anyone not being creative. I’m a scientist by trade and people often think of science as dry and non creative, but they have no idea as it takes so much creativity to get new ideas for experiments, papers, and analysis. I’m sure you’ve always been creative and it’s just that the focus of your creativity shifted over the years.


  11. I can so relate to this – I always had ideas for stories in my head but never tried writing because I was sure I wasn’t creative. In fact I spent most of my life telling myself that. Here’s to growing wings and soaring!


  12. First off, I love your new blog header. Talk about being creative! And the Kurt Vonnegut quote is very inspiring. I’m rooting for you and anxious to see how your wings will grow! It should be a spectacular show.:)


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