Friday, September 23, 2011

The Other Outlet

You're probably here because your creative outlet is writing, and you want to connect with another writer. If not, there could be other possibilities: maybe you simply enjoy what I have to say, or maybe you are one of those first fifteen people whom I bullied into following me at the very start of my venture into the blogosphere. Yes, I bullied my friends into following me. But I'll assume that your reason for visiting this blog is because you're a writer.

As writers, our creative outlet is, well, writing. We express ourselves through putting words to paper. Maybe you write poetry, or you're writing a novel, or you keep a journal, or you write essays, or, or, or. Writing is a broad term. Maybe you do all of those. But ultimately, that is how we vent our emotions and portray all the voices in our heads. Other people have other ways. This is ours.

Now, if you are serious about writing - and I'm assuming that you are, remember - then you probably see the craft as more than simply an outlet or a hobby. Until about a year ago, I thought that writing was a hobby of mine. But then it began to dawn on me how much I actually loved it, and suddenly I realised that writing was more than merely something I was interested in: it was a passion.

The same is probably true for you. Somewhere along the line you will have switched from the "hobby" mindset to the "passion" mindset. And now, while you still think writing is beyond amazing and rewarding and glorious and beautiful, it is also decidedly work. It isn't something you sit down to do every half a year when you feel suddenly inspired to express yourself. It doesn't work like that. It's something you do almost every day, because that's how much you love it. And, let's be honest, it's draining. Incredible, but draining.

And that's where the other outlet comes in. My mum (excuse my correct spelling of "mom"), in all her wisdom, used to always tell me that if writing was going to ultimately be my job in the future, then I needed another creative outlet that would help me to wind down. And so I found something a little different. The piano.

I used to play the piano when I was younger, but I didn't really like it, so I quit. But now I play it practically everyday - not heaps, but enough to help me relax. To be honest, I'm not very good at it, but I still enjoy it, and it helps to relieve stress.

I suppose you could turn this on its head: my cousin, for example, is an incredibly gifted pianist, and practices for many hours every single day. She loves it. But music, for her, is work.

So, what's the moral of the story? Basically, it's this: writing, for those who are serious about it, certainly does not equate to field-frolicking in terms of dandy-ness. It's tough work. I love it, of course, but I've found it great having the piano, an outlet that allows me to relax - no goals or deadlines or fears. Just bliss.

So, tell me, do you have another creative outlet? What is it, and how does it help you to relax?


  1. Excellent!
    Thanks for sharing, Nick! I enjoyed the visit.

  2. I dont have another "creative" outlet, but I do love to exercise and it is another kind of outlet.

  3. Ahhhh, creative outlets! These are always brilliant! The piano surely is a lovely thing!! Sometimes it's good to have multiple outlets, hell, I just recently made a blog on here because I needed, not wanted, NEEDED to write something, and writer's block is a fickle thing. But having different ways to do things is fantastic! Writing, playing music, it's all brilliant! I applaud you for playing the piano, tis a beautiful instrument! Sometimes making videos too is excellent, it takes time, but the end result is always satisfying! Glad to hear you have a great outlet, Sometimes it's good just to do something other than work, just to calm down! And that's my rather pointlessly long response to you Nick :)

  4. @TTL: No worries, thanks for stopping by! :)

    @Jessie: Oh, cool! I wish I was a more active person, but it isn't really my cup of tea if you know what I mean. I'm glad it works for you :)

    @Graeden: Yea, it's great to have a bit of a rest while still still doing something productive :) Making videos would also quite fun, I did it once - but I'm kinda bad at it to be honest ... But no, this kind of thing is always good :)

  5. I love that you say it's work. Because it is. And sometimes people just think they can poop out great writing...but really it's just poop. I think writing is like practicing the piano...the more you write the better you get.

    oh, and my other creative outlet is shooting people.

  6. Great post, thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks guys :)

    And Erin, I hope you mean shooting people with a lolly gun or something equally non-harming :)

  8. I think I was born with a passion for writing... I'm an artist and musician, but writing has always been my first love. And you're right, it's difficult to write sometimes, and impossible to perfect. But I'd never call it work; work is for things I don't always enjoy--and writing IS joy.

  9. Fair point. That reminds me of the quote that goes: "Find a job you love, and you'll never have to work another day in your life." Makes sense. But I guess what I'm saying is that writing's difficult - and sometimes it's good to take a break, find something different and just relax.

  10. I play the piano too, it's my "Other outlet."

    I really like this idea…For me, writing is the thing my fingers itch to do when I have extra time on my hands, but piano is just fun. An interesting viewpoint! :)

  11. Hail, fellow writer-slash-pianist!
    Absolute truth: A passion may not feel like *work* work, but it can still take a whole lot out of you.
    When I need a break from writing (*need*, mind you -- almost never *want*), piano-playing/songwriting or sketching are my go-to lesser loves. So long as I'm creating something, I'm a happy gal. ...particularly if that creation is story. ^-^

  12. Hello, fellow writer-slash-pianist :) Creation is awesome, I'm glad you have to lesser loves to go to when you need a break.


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