Friday, May 16, 2008


Written 13 May, 2008

Styles of Creativity

I think one reason Sweetie and I work so well as a team is our differing styles of creativity.

Sweetie is a creature of passions and emotions, strong and spontaneous. My passions and emotions tend to be more moderated.

So one might think Sweetie’s style of creativity would be free and spur-of-the-moment.

Nope. She’s a planner. I’m the one that just ups and does stuff.

When I sit down to write, whether it’s a song, a poem, a novel, a journal article, or a textbook chapter, I just sit down and start writing. I begin at the beginning and write straight though. There’s no outline*. After a while it’s done. And strangely enough, it always seems to work out. **

I sometimes need to let things ideas cogitate for a few days before I start work, but even then I don’t consciously think about my projects. They just jell. I’ll wake up one morning and I’ll know it’s time to start. But although I sometimes speculate about how they might turn out, never at any point do I PLAN my projects. I just DO them.

Sweetie, on the other hand, plans things. On paper. In her head. And when she’s ready and she executes her plans, the result is brilliant.

Despite our difference in styles, despite my tendency to charge ahead and Sweetie’s tendency to think about it for a while, our mutual projects seem to work out. I’ve no idea why.

When Whimsy arrived, I made a 16x16 grid at Sweetie’s request and she and I pushed prims around on it as we worked up the design for the land. (The grid board, with prims intact, is up around 300 meters, should anyone feel a desire to see it). It was intriguing to watch her as she planned the route of the steam train and the logical place to put bridges. And of course I was jumping up at down at the keyboard, ready to roll up my virtual sleeves and get down to business. Steam trains and bridges? I’ll look at the land after we create it and figure out where they should go.

But when Whimsy’s terrain materialized, I knew all that planning had been worth it.

I’ve done some (in my opinion) fine creative work over the years, both in world and out. But lately I’ve been wondering how much better it all would have been if I had Sweetie’s ability to plan.

* When I was in high school and we were required to hand in the outline for a theme, I would write the theme and use it to form an outline.

** I’ve long suspected I have a touch of Attention Deficit Disorder. If so, it has never negatively impacted me—but I think it informs my personality. I’ll blog about this separately.

1 comment:

Mare Novi said...

I hear you! I'm also one of those people who plans ad hoc rather than planning. Generally if I do an outline, sketch or whatnot, it's always a bare minimum. I have to be pushing prims or laying code to visualize it fully. Like you said, it usually works out, and sometimes the results are completely different from what I conceived at first; often a pleasant surprise*.

* Except for the times I have to tear up the whole thing and start over and chalk it up as a learning experience.