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The Pursuit of Creativity

June 24, 2013

My first novel, Viral Nation, launches on July 2. As I’m writing this, that’s twelve days away.

Twelve. Days.

In twelve days boxes of trade paperbacks with my name on the front and my story between the covers will be shipped by Penguin Books to book stores across North America. It doesn’t feel real. It feels way too real. I’m so excited. I’m terrified. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a complete mess. In a good way.

So now I’m working on the sequel to Viral Nation, which is due in October, and I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity. I’ve especially been thinking about the things that are conducive to living a creative life.  There are three things that I think creativity really needs to thrive.

  1.  Creativity needs space — I spent most of the last year with two other adults and an eight-year-old, two cats, a hamster, and a goldfish, in a 900-square-foot apartment. I was able to work there. I learned that I actually like writing in bed. I also learned that I don’t need an office or even a corner of the living room. I just need to dedicate some space as my creative space.
  2. Creativity needs priority — If you push your creative ideas to the back-burner along with everything else you’re going to do someday, they’ll stay there forever. Giving yourself permission to go after your creative goals without guilt is so freeing.
  3. Creativity needs acceptance — I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that I wrote Viral Nation just after I finally allowed myself to let go of the idea that to be healthy, productive, happy, useful, worthwhile, etc., I had to be thin. Accepting myself the way I am, adopting a Health at Every Size® lifestyle and shifting my focus from weight loss to overall health, opened up something in me, and that let the creativity out. It gave it room to play. Because guess what? it turns out that shame is a natural predator of creativity. The minute you stop wondering who you are to think that you can be an artist, and start wondering who you are to think that you can ignore your talent, it’s a whole new ballgame.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    June 24, 2013 11:20 am

    Congratulations! Will your book be available for Kindle? It looks interesting, just from the cover art alone, and that’s usually what entices me to look further into a book to see if it’s something I’d like. Alas, I have no more room for physical books, so I just keep adding to my ebook library.

  2. June 24, 2013 11:24 am

    This is the best quote “The minute you stop wondering who you are to think that you can be an artist, and start wondering who you are to think that you can ignore your talent, it’s a whole new ballgame.” Will have to check out your book!

  3. Adele Hite, MPH RD permalink
    June 24, 2013 11:25 am

    I’ve often wondered what the world has lost–especially in the last 30-40 years–as women, and increasingly, men, have directed their time and energy towards meeting standards of “fitness” and attractiveness that have little relationship to health. My eureka moment came when I read a study that women must to exercise an hour a day every day beginning in young adulthood just to maintain “a healthy weight” (whatever that means) as they got older. One more impossible standard and one more guilt-laden reason to push the writing, painting, community-organizing to the back burner. Enough already.

    Congratulations on the book! I’m excited for you. And double congrats for being an inspiration for the rest of us.

  4. pyctsi permalink
    June 24, 2013 11:42 am

    Congratulations on being published.

    Will this be available in the UK? I read the blurb and it is the sort of thing my boyfriend and I read.

  5. June 24, 2013 12:07 pm

    Very cool!! Congrats!!

  6. Duckie permalink
    June 24, 2013 12:42 pm

    Congratulations! I, too, hope it comes out for the Kindle!

    Regarding creativity – there’s definitely a relationship between art and fear. I was so shocked when I began to move toward size acceptance. Immediately, I had so much brain-space open up. It’s amazing how much time and mental energy I used to put into fear, shame, and self-loathing! Now I have the time, desire, motivation, and inner peace required to do some really great works. It has completely changed the game.

  7. dufmanno permalink
    June 24, 2013 3:33 pm

    This is fantastic news!
    May a fabulous Hollywood scout option the film rights and may you roll in a bed fashioned of thousand dollar bills!

    Viva creativity!

  8. Theresa permalink
    June 25, 2013 2:46 pm

    YES! My e-reader is trembling in anticipation of the download. 😀

  9. LAT permalink
    June 27, 2013 4:13 pm

    Congrats! So is the heroine really a thin person as in that pic, or did the cover artist slim her down?

  10. Bunny permalink
    August 10, 2013 11:16 am

    I’ll say it — Why such a thin model on the cover? Was it absolutely imperative that this person be thin, white passing, and conventionally attractive?

    • vesta44 permalink
      August 10, 2013 4:39 pm

      Authors don’t always have control over what cover art appears on the front of their books – Anne McCaffrey is a case in point. She was a widely published author, and controlled the cover art on her books printed in the US, but the cover art put on those same books in other countries was different, and not always under her control. So for a new author to have that kind of control, if she’s not self-publishing, is unusual.

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