I’m a big fan of Sarah Wilson’s column in the Sunday Life magazine each week (in The Sun Herald). Every week Sarah investigates how to make life more meaningful and shares her discoveries with readers.

This week she interviewed Hugh Mackay, social researcher and author of What makes us Tick? The Ten Desires that Drive Us. In response to Sarah’s question, “What makes life better?” Mackay’s response was Being creative. and often.”

Here’s a little more of what he had to say: “When I’ve spoken to people who write or paint, they say they don’t know where the idea came from … it just emerged …what emerges is always revealing …Reading or looking at art, but writing or painting even more so, thaw out the layers of facade and rigid thinking and reveal what we’re truly about – the ‘real’ us.”

Whether we’re journalling, writing fiction or non-fiction we write at our best when those layers are peeled away and the writing is raw and honest. It’s this connection to our true selves that draws us back to the writing, or whatever other creative pursuit we enjoy, and it’s the same honesty and authenticity that draws readers to turn the page and keep on reading. Through our writing we see ourselves and the world around us in new and often unexpected ways and we reflect that perspective in our stories, poems, articles – whatever form we choose to write.

Like so many of us though, Mackay often resists creative options. To get himself going he walks (which gives him space) and belongs to a choir (which gives him a structure and commitment).

Finding ways to battle the resistance to be creative, to pursue our creative dreams despite the pressures on our time and the demands our jobs, families and life in general places on us, is no mean feat. We all need to find ways to avoid avoidance, to get to the desk, pick up the pen and write. It could mean setting a “creativity” schedule, as uncreative as that sounds, making a “date” with a writing buddy or simply sitting down and doing it. 

When we do get to the writing, we may produce rubbish or we could create pure magic, but either way we’re connecting with the very deepest truest part of ourselves. And that’s reason enough to write.

To read the whole article, or more of Sarah’s inspiration, go to www.sarahwilson.com.au

To find out more about Hugh Mackay go to www.hughmackay.com.au

What creative activities – writing and others – do you enjoy and how do you deal with resistance?

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