2/25/2011

Creavity and Nonconformity

In his book, Creativity for Life, writing coach Eric Maisel talks about traits that are necessary in varying degrees for a writer. The list includes the following:

Intelligence
Introspective stance
Discipline
Honesty
Empathy
Self-centeredness
Self-direction
Assertiveness
Resiliency
Nonconformity

He asks the reader to single out one trait that is most important for him or her to better understand, and to ask themselves if they need more of it? Less of it? Or does it depend?

I decided I needed to examine nonconformity. I feel so vanilla. But am I? On the outside, maybe. On the inside, not so much. Because I write for young adults, I decided to think about who I was when I was in high school.

In high school, when 498 students in my class of 500 bought Saddle Shoes because it was the latest trend, I didn’t, if only because everyone else did.

When girls ironed their hair to make it straight, I got a short curly perm—and took more teasing from adults than classmates!
I’m not writing a paranormal novel, but I “get” feeling so odd and different from the rest of humanity that I used to dream regularly that I was evil or bad. (Me? I’m as mild-mannered and unassuming as they come.) But I “get” a teen’s interest in the paranormal, as well as their feelings of alienation.
I never ran in the popular crowd. I had friends, but I never really ran in any crowd at all.

My husband once said I’m one of the strangest people he ever met. It was a compliment. We share an irreverent sense of humor.


Maisel says, “Powerful writers are always nonconformists and rebels. Writers who rebel the least may fit neatly into their society, but may not speak or know their minds.”

Where do you fit in the continuum between conformity and nonconformity? Are you able to know and speak your mind?

We’re here to contribute what is uniquely our own. Our honest self-expression is the greatest thing we have to give. Don’t be afraid to step forward and tell your truth.

7 comments:

  1. I'm somewhere in the middle.

    So writers are self-centered? Ouch. I hope I'm not self-centered. I'm guessing it doens't mean what I read it as at 5:48 am. ;)

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  2. That is an interesting list. It makes me want to read the book to find out more! Thank you for sharing.

    I definitely tend towards conformity. I'm just not confident enought to step outside of the box. I suppose I need to change that to become a better writer...

    Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

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  3. I feel pretty boring~ I never felt the need to follow trends in high school, mostly because I just wasn't interested in clothes....hmmm. I don't feel the need to conform in situations and peer pressure doesn't bother me, but I definitely dislike conflict. I tend to take the easy route sometimes, so maybe that's conforming...don't know. But I've never been a wild child, which means I probably missed out on a lot of fun :)

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  4. Very interesting, I will be looking for the book. Thanks!

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  5. Hi everyone! Yes, Maisel truly meant self-centered when he said it was a necessary trait. I'll write on that one on Monday. Thank you for stopping by.

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  6. I very much like the bit which starts, "We're here to contribute what is uniquely our own ..."
    Thanks for reminding me. Very reaffirming words.
    I think I'm a bit of both, a rebel and a coformist. Not quite as much sitting on the fence as one might think. It's more like which one will turn up? Which one will tell the story her way? Very much where the mood takes me.

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