By Daniel Carbonero
Is not one of the first principles of education the scientific principle that matter is neither created nor destroyed but that it only changes form? Water is the obvious example. Steam and ice are not created. They result from water changing form.
This writer would put before anyone reading this article that creativity resides in a similar place in the human experience. Emotion is one of the conduits for creativity in the same way water facilitates the changing of matter from one form to another. As an aficionado of talent search reruns on You-tube, a consistent theme is that of a songwriter’s or performer’s ability to move people. Suffice it to say, some of the first articles I wrote may have been factually accurate but were lackluster because I did not move readers’ emotions from one place to another. Imagine a singer having the right pitch and hitting the notes perfectly yet doing it in a monotone – absolutely void of emotional energy.
My first year doing content writing I was asked to write an article for a client on the safest and most cost effective ways to get a small yacht or boat from one place to another. My initial response was it was a superfluous proposition and only a small demographic would even care.
The first decision I had to make was what I wanted to be. I wanted to be the writer that would make it happen instead of the one that would whine about how unglamorous the topic was. I also wanted to be the person the people above and around me would count on when the seas were rough, pun unintended.
Once those decisions were made and I had committed to the project and began researching the issue, I was amazed at how many people there are whose lives and jobs revolve around costly boats.
To create, to move people emotionally from one place to another, one has to be willing to put one’s self out there. The first two facilitators to creativity were almost synonymous in this case. Because my knowledge base of yacht transports was zero, I had to research the question in order to be able to think or speak intelligently on the subject. Attempting to fake knowledge is not only stupid. It is also ignoble – something I did not want to be.
The next step in creativity(moving people emotionally from one place to another) is for the mover’s own psyche to be free of clutter. Once I ceased fretting and bit the bullet, so to speak, I committed myself to putting the energy into learning what I needed to know about the subject at hand and how and why that might be important to other people, even if it meant nothing to me. Then, I was able to imagine why others might care.
Free of clutter could also be described as a clear conscience. A writer trying to fake his way through is, like any liar, in a perpetual sweat that he/she will be found out.
I was then able to come up with an opening statement for the article that reached anyone. It said that we all care about our possessions. And, if we have something to move, whether an antique violin maybe worth a few thousand or a seven-figure yacht, we will be concerned about what is involved in its transport and how the people doing that will handle the task. And that would be the focus of the article.
Putting myself out there had some other unexpected benefits. I am not sure I can explain how and why it is true yet I am convinced an uncluttered mind is able to soar in terms of best word choices, jeux de mots, anecdotes, when to delete what I think is clever but does not fit, and when to rewrite a point.
Self-respect is the best unexpected benefit. Like upping an exercise routine, I broke through my resistance to the unglamorous topic and learned more than I ever would have imagined. I grew personally and professionally. Some of that knowledge has been useful at times since then, incidentally.
If I thought the topic was unglamorous, so did the people needing the information. But, they knew they needed it so they were prepared to push through boring reading. I was proud of the fact I went from knowing nothing to writing something that was entertaining and informative.