A Creative’s Most Important Rules

#500WordsEveryDay asks to write about the following prompt:

What are the three most important truths for creatives? Choose one for today: Tell me, why is it so important?

I did a bit of research and reviewed some rules, truths, and guides for creatives. After reflecting a bit on what I learned in writing courses, I came up with my most important truths for creatives:
1. Dedication To Your Work
2. Don’t Fake It, Experience Is Key
3. Know The Why Of Everything You Do

Today’s prompt asks to describe which one of these truths is most important for a creative. But first, I need to work out what exactly a “creative” is. An online dictionary states that a creative (noun) is “one who displays productive originality”. I think that the key word in that definition is productive. Everyone is capable of creativity is some form or another, but those who are talented enough to act upon that creativity to become productive is another sort of skill. Sally Shmally just loves to imagine herself as a future astronaut in a spacesuit she would make herself. But she never did anything about it. She never tested a new suit, she never studied the science behind the outfits, she never created a product, object or concept. That’s how I see the difference between a creative person (adjective) and being a creative (noun). You act.

The most important truths that I have listed apply to those skilled and talented enough to act on their creativity. Of these three, I chose #2. Don’t Fake It, Experience Is Key. This rule was a concept that I learned in my Environmental Writing class. We were reading a sci-fi short story about an experimental microenvironment that tested if a group of people and a collection of plant specimens could survive a year in a glass enclosed bubble. The story is riveting, scientific, and somehow really feasible. The professor assigned us a prompt to write a sci-fi or fantasy driven short story, paying special attention to the setting. It was incredibly hard to whip up a cool, new, believable setting from thin air. My piece inspired by the prompt turned out flat and hard to understand. I had trouble writing a setting that was original but believable as a real place. This is where the rule comes into play. I was faking it. Without research into new places or committing to recreating real places, I wasn’t able to convince my readers that the setting was understandable. This applies to every aspect of writing a piece. It’s unconvincing to write about emotions you haven’t felt, places you haven’t been, actions you’ve never done. Of course it’s not essential that you write in a memoir or autobiographical style, but there must be an element of expertise in everything a writer produced. There’s a 25/75% rule that I like to refer to: 25% of your writing can be created, imagined, made up, organic and 75% of your writing needs to be reflective of experience, real people, places, objects, animals.

But why is this important? Your reader needs to be on board with what you’ve written. They need to relate, they need to be astonished, they need to connect in some way to your written work. If they start off by debunking your storyline or shaking their head at misused slang, you won’t get that connection. I like to imagine that every reader is an expert in the topics in your writing, so you best make them believe it.

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