Being Creative without Being Negative

We have a culture in wallowing in negativity. I am currently fighting to change my mind, literally, change my daily and hourly thoughts.  I’ve always based my writing on negativity. It’s how I coped with issues I didn’t have anyone to talk to about.

It’s so hard. Negativity is written into our culture.

The music we chant, the news we watch. All of it is self-deprecating, depressing, death, disease and the list goes on and on.

I have a Pandora station that plays the likes of Alanis Morsette, Paramore, FeFe Dobson, Avril Lavigne, The Cranberries.  I actually made the station from a song called “You Gotta Be,” a positive upbeat song by Des’ree.

And I love the 90s and early 2000s female artist vibe, and the 90s grunge and 2010s punk but it’s SOOOO depressing. It becomes the thoughts I repeat over and over and over to myself. How could I move my life in a new direction if I’m constantly listening to that stuff?

But when you’re a creative, and you use the darkness as fuel, what are you supposed to do when you want to turn the light on?

How can I write, if I’m happy? I ask myself. I’ve been asking myself this question since I was 16 years old. I’ve forced myself into a life of depressing thoughts and negativity just so I can write.

So yes, it is possible to be creative, and be happy and positive. It’s all in the endings, the final message. What you learned, what you appreciate, what you’re grateful for–even in sad or painful stories. It’s the writer’s outlook  that makes the piece positive or negative.

To me, the image of a happy person was one who was empty–devoid of thoughts, emotion and passion. I couldn’t imagine what a happy person would think about because all I ever did was complain about life in my head.

I developed this voice– this angry, snarky, sarcastic voice. I loved to read writers who want to slap the world across the face for being idiotic. It was funny.

But it wasn’t making my life any better.

Even now, as I wrap up the book I’d taken seven years to write, I see the negative overtones that are threaded throughout. The difficult experiences that shaped me are also a part of that story.  The original plan for the book, and the original ending was to run along a particular negative line of thinking. There is no hope, I thought. There is no hope for my characters. Now that is real life. Now, as I work on the sequel, I wonder if there is no hope for those characters either.

Last night I was looking at some amazing art and illustrations on Instagram. It’s beauty filled me. It filled me in a way that being negative never could. I’ve been asking myself how can I be a positive force for change? How can I make people feel good? Give them hope and encourage positivity, if I myself write nothing but “no hope” in my books. 

I want to use my writing to fill people up in a good way.  And it’s possible. I’ve been reading the wrong books, watching the wrong movies. Zeroing in on everything negative instead of looking for the small shimmers of light in dark rooms.

How can you fuel creativity without relying on negativity? Let me know in the comments below.

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