I’m taking a short break from writing about the law to bring you something different this week. My beautiful friend Tash from Healthy You Happy Me has invited me to participate in a blogging challenge to tell you about why I write. (Check out Tash’s post on this subject, it’ll knock your socks off!) This might seem like a strange tangent for a law blog, but I actually think it’s more connected than it seems. Copyright is intimately concerned with creativity and at heart I, too, am a creative soul. We all are.
What Am I Working On?
I have two major projects going on right now – this blog (of course) and my PhD (which is truly major). But I don’t want to talk about those projects in this post (well, a little about the blog). I want to talk about the writing I do for fun – the scribblings, the stories, the scraps of poetry.
Why Do I Write?
(1) I write because I must
Writing is a feeling for me. Sometimes the feeling washes over me, a strange mix of yearning and nostalgia, with just a hint of melancholy. Yearning for what, I don’t know. Nostalgia for nothing I can exactly put my finger on. It’s an entirely concocted nostalgia, because it is not for a time or place that is my real experience. But yearning and nostalgia are the best way I can describe it. And when that wave comes I must sit down and I must write it out. I must let it flow through me. I lose myself in that feeling and there is no coming up for air until it’s ready to release me.
This is the great paradox at the heart of copyright, one I find immensely interesting. Copyright is built on an incentive theory – it reasons that we must provide creators with legal protection and a means to sell their creations, because if they can’t make a living from what they create then they simply won’t create. There is a kind of logic to this. But things are not actually that simple. Speak to any creator about creativity and they won’t tell you about incentives. They talk about creativity as a compulsion. They create because they must. Because it is there, inside of them, and if they don’t express their creativity it will torment them, like some kind of demon. I’ve linked to it before, but Elizabeth Gilbert expresses this wonderfully in her TED talk. I understand what creators mean when they say these kinds of things. Often I write because there is no way I cannot.
(2) I write because words are my balm
I love all art – I can appreciate the beauty in visual art, or the genius behind a piece of music. But nothing can move me the way words can. It’s just how I’m programmed. (I cannot stand songs with lazy lyrics!) The right words, written in the right way, can send a shiver down my spine. They can bring me to tears. They pulsate through me. They can heal me. Most recently, I stumbled across this poem and it shifted something in me. My life is a trail of books, poems, speeches and lyrics that lay littered in my wake.
(3) I write because it is my outlet
I am a legal academic. I spend my life researching and writing about the law. I do this because I like it, but if I did only this I would go slowly insane. I have two outlets to keep me grounded and feeling creative and alive – yoga and writing. Through writing I can explore a different side of myself and I can look at the world in a more imaginative way.
I am endlessly fascinated with people who work as ‘professionals’ in demanding, high-powered careers, but who also have secret loves – other activities that really express their creativity. Sometimes it’s writing or blogging (like me), but sometimes it’s something really unexpected. I love discovering what people’s hidden passions are. The world is full of brilliant, multi-passionate people.
(4) I write this blog because I want to help people
I think it’s easy, once you’ve been involved in the law for a while, to forget that it’s not something that most people know about or understand. Like with any skill, you start to take the things you’ve learnt for granted. But every now and again someone will come to me with a question or a negative experience, and I remember that the law can be quite an intimidating and confusing thing. My number one aim with this blog is to be of service. To help people. To empower bloggers to do their thang – to create, to collaborate – secure in the knowledge that they have a grasp of the legal aspects of what they do and secure in the belief that they are supported. This blog helps me, on a personal level, to write regularly and to connect with some truly magnificent people. But at the end of the day it’s not about me. I do this for you.
This blog can be heavily legal at times, but I’m trying really hard to make the Facebook space more of a creative hub – focusing on creativity as a process as well as the legal conditions around it. I’ll be posting more videos and images over there from now on, with the hope that I can help to inspire my readers’ creativity. If you think you might be into that, jump on over and like Navigate Create on Facebook.
How Does My Writing Differ From Others In Its Genre?
Oh dear, this presumes my writing has a genre! It doesn’t. And I’m not even sure how different my writing actually is from other people’s. I don’t know and I don’t question it. I write for me, so it doesn’t really matter if there is some mimicry of the masters in there. There is something of me too, and that’s the important bit.
For the blog, my one goal is clarity. If I’m not explaining concepts clearly, then my blog is not doing its job.
How Does My Writing Process Work?
I’ve already described how writing is a kind of feeling for me. Basically, I do what one of my creative writing lecturers once described as “word vomit”. I sit down and spew it out. (Gross) When I’m properly in the zone I’m not thinking about it. I’m just writing.
When I’m writing for my PhD or work, the process is entirely different. Entirely more painful. I do lots of planning, structuring and mapping out. Sometimes I get stuck on this stage far too long. It is one area where I still experience some fear and a lot of the resistance – the just start writing! part. The day when my academic writing process is more like my fiction writing process is the day I will be one very happy little camper.
Passing On The Baton
Now it’s my turn to pass on the blogging baton!
I am so freakin’ excited and honoured that the three ladies I asked to participate all said YES! Let me introduce you to these incredible women:
Not only is this gorgeous soul a kick-ass radio producer and one of the brightest + bubbliest people you will ever meet, but she also happens to be my StepMum. Yep, keeping it in the family! Annie is the perfect person to pass the baton to because she is a writer through-and-through, and a talented one at that. She keeps a blog over at Life & Dandelions and is currently working on her first novel. I can’t wait to see her name on the bookshelves one day!
Carly is one of those amazing people I was talking about above, who manages to juggle an important career in international aid and development with her creative pursuits. (In fact, she’s currently doing field work in Fiji, helping to empower local women. Did I mention that she’s amazing??) Carly’s blog is Pockets of Peace, an oasis of sparkling positivity and light. It will lift. you. up. It really is the digital embodiment of Carly herself. I have so much admiration for this lady!
Tahlee is one of the most down-to-earth and hilarious people I know. Her Facebook posts make me laugh out loud, and I swear that I give her at least one mental high five each day. She just speaks my language. Tahlee also oozes creativity. She is living her life purpose by making out-of-this-world music that literally impacts your brainwaves to help you feel more focused and relaxed. Check out her meditones for yourself; they are brilliant. Her blog is The Attitude Revolution.
What a troop, huh?! I’m really looking forward to reading their posts. And thanks again to my soul sister Tash for passing the baton to me. Tash and I became firm friends through the magic that is Groove Dance, of which Tash is a facilitator. It’s the most fun you can have exercising, and it’s a fabulous opportunity to meet kind, supportive and totally-on-your-wavelength people – trust me! :p
Next week we’ll be back on the law train, with post 2 in my series on collaborations. See you then!