Creative or artistic types tend to have a reputation for being a little unusual or eccentric. Our brains process things a little differently than most people, and we seek to draw outside of the lines rather than stay within them. Sometimes you don’t notice a trait or habit is not really considered the norm until you find yourself surveying your workspace or discussing what a typical day of creativity feels like with someone else. Recently, I’ve realized my own little quirk.
As an aspiring writer I love beautiful books and writing utensils. I enjoy the way they feel in my hands and the sense of possibility vibrating off of these objects. I think all writers would understand exactly what I mean. While the advent of technology and computers has made it extremely easy for a writer to write their story and save their work, nothing beats the old fashioned way of using your own hand to write something down on paper. And because I could never abandon the handwritten word for the swiftness and immediacy of a keystroke, I purchase journals and notebooks.
Leatherbound, hardcover, small, large, plain, or with an image on the cover, I have a diverse collection of journals and notebooks that will serve a purpose in some way. I often save the most beautiful looking journals for writing down my most personal thoughts and feelings. These often are classified as the journals that are seen by no one but me. Whenever I need to make sense of the world or my emotions, these particular journals offer me the safe space and comfort I need to release anything and everything that’s nestled inside me. Then there are the notebooks I use to sketch out story ideas, plot developments, create character profiles, or to free write when I may not be in the mood to continue with my book in progress.
The amount of journals I’ve collected over the years, whether I’ve bought them myself or have received as gifts, is enough to probably have its own bookshelf alongside the numerous books I’ve read or still have yet to read. Even though I know I have a few journals and notebooks that are left untouched and unused, I still feel as if I could always use another new journal to add to the collection. I have a peculiar habit of owning more journals and notebooks than I’ll actually ever really need.
Most normal people would be content with just having one or two journals in their possession. One could record your personal thoughts, while the other can be used as your idea book. For me, I’ve grown accustomed to assigning a different empty book for a singular purpose.
A few weeks ago I decided to stop by my local Moleskine store on a mission to buy yet another notebook. Now that I’m going through great lengths to finish the first draft of my YA fantasy manuscript this year, I decided it would be a good idea to have a notebook that’s solely dedicated to creating character profiles and to really try to get inside the head of the people who will take center stage in my book.
In the past I’ve mixed together plot points with character descriptions in one notebook. The result has been a chaotic and messy mishmash of ideas that’s hard to follow and impossible to figure out what my intended aim is to potentially incorporate some of them into my story. I’m a really neat and organized person by nature and having my written ideas so disorganized is enough to turn me off from even bothering to go back and reference what I have written in the past. In fact, I haven’t touched that now filled notebook.
Taking a more practical approach, I decided separating out my ideas may be the way to go. I bought a new and shiny red notebook from Moleskine and is now officially a part of my collection of journals and notebooks.
To an observer my latest purchase might be considered a little crazy and baffling when there are other perfectly good journals and notebooks I have that can be used to fulfill the purpose I need this one to do for me. But no one ever said creative types are entirely sane. There is, what you would call, a method behind the madness, and I’ve fully embraced this strange quirk of mine.
What are some personal quirks or habits you have that makes perfect sense to you, but would not be understood by a casual bystander?
6 thoughts on “The Quirks You Notice As A Creative Type”
When we first started living together, my wife asked me why I would often keep a ream of paper and pencils nearby, even though nearly all of my work output is digital. I told her it’s because my ideas always start with very abstract concepts, and the easiest way for me to refine them is by sketching them out and giving them a rough visual form.
Artists have different processes on how they begin or start creating the work they’re doing. This is why it might look funny to other people, but from one artist to another, it doesn’t seem strange at all. I do find comfort in having my collection of filled and empty journals. I find it helps to write them down rather than type it out. I always save the typing for when I’m continuing with my novel.
I used to love journals too. I kept a diary and now have a box full of old journals filled with my diary entries from high school and college. I also have some creative ones for my story ideas, but mine are a mess – kind of like what you described, they have character sketches, story ideas, unfinished scenes, snippets of dialogue, weird maps I’ve drawn for fantasy worlds… it’s a little bit of everything!
Hmmm my quirk is probably talking out loud. I like to tell myself my story so I can wrap my head around the plot, then I start writing. I do that every week or so to think things through. Only when I’m alone in my apartment though, I know it’s really weird hehe.
I always find everyone’s individual process really fascinating. 🙂 I sort of do something similar, except I do this with dialogue. When I’m alone in my room and I’m trying to figure out if what’s being said is natural, I kind of act out the dialogue as if I were the character. It really does help sometimes to figure out the tone and wording! 🙂
These days, I think most of my creative output happens in the kitchen, and because of that, I don’t allow anyone to mess with its organizational scheme. I know where everything is, and that works for me when I’m cooking. If one things is out of place, everything goes awry! I’m fine with emptying the dishwasher or putting away the groceries by myself, because, by golly, I don’t want to go hunting for the honey or my favorite knife or my best mixing bowl when I really need it!
Makes sense! And the kitchen can be a creative space for those who are avid cooks. I’m always in awe of people who can whip up really fun and delicious meals. I don’t have that talent yet, but I’m hoping to learn from the best. 🙂