The picture I've included today really sums it up very nicely. Creativity is really like a great cauldron of bubbling, frothing mystical energy. You start with an pretty empty pot when you are first born and as you experience more and more things the ingredients get added to the pot. You start dipping in a finger or a spoon to test the brew every once in a while. When it seems ready you ladle out a serving and that is your creation. The first few creations, you imaginary friends, your story about grandma's cat are pretty rudimentary because they don't have that many ingredients and they haven't really stewed that long to blend the flavors.
As you get older and get out into the world you experience other storytellers. First your parents and relatives, and then television and other media deposit a few things along the way. Your stories start to be a little more original and run a little farther afield. Stories about your dog eating your homework or how your younger sister got worms down her dress are a couple good examples of this phase. You go to school and you are taught structure in your storytelling, or what I'll call recipes. You learn act structure, metaphor, and the short hand of archetypes. All along the way you stir the cauldron, sample and then portion out a little bit of your creativity to share with others.
Some people stop at this stage. They graduate from high school or even college and get a job. They become drones in the workday world and neglect that natural outlet for creativity that I believe resides in all of us. These people are bored with their lives. Their recipes are flat and often tasteless. I implore everyone that reads these words not to let that happen to you. Continue to stir the pot. Read voraciously, consume media, meet people, explore new places. These things are the ingredients of a fulfilling life as much as they are a fulfilling story. If you are currently a drone, start simply, try a new restaurant on your lunch hour, or a new wine with your dinner. No need to go off the deep end and book a week long trip on the Amazon the first time out. But do it. Do something.
Life imitates art as much as art does life. Fill your life with inspiration one ingredient at a time and your cauldron will bubble over with creativity. Sample some every now and again and share it with the world.
People ask me all the time how I create what I do. How I find inspiration. It's always there bubbling, just waiting for the cook to ladle out the next helping. Soups on.
If you do want to sample some of my recipes try The Stolen Throne. It's a Novellette, and at under 10,000 words it's like a light snack. No need to go in whole hog to start with. Who knows though, it may just be that last ingredient missing from your own brew. Bon Appetite.