Creativity allows us to view and solve problems. It opens our minds. Especially in difficult and lonely time’s creativity is the best self-therapy and healing solution for our heart, mind, and soul. Creativity is the ability to generate, create, or discover new ideas, solutions, and possibilities. During this horrible global pandemic crisis, everyone was challenged in one or another way, which gave me the idea to feature a few creative guests in my summer blog series Corona & Creativity.
My next guest in my blog series 2021 is the lovely and talented published Australian author Ellen Read. Ellen is the author of the Thornton Mysteries – a series of five murder mysteries set into the late 1920s in Australia and more books.
Dear Ellen thank you so much for being my blog guest. Please tell me what means creativity to you?
Creativity is an expression of my soul, my heart, my mind. I can’t imagine my life without creativity in it. Like sunshine, it brings light into my world.
What is your favourite creative activity?
My favourite creative activity is my writing. When writing, I can lose myself in different worlds and various eras. I’m always thinking of my stories, principally the one I’m writing but other ideas occur to me at the oddest time. Writing ideas down in note form is essential.
I also love photography, particularly photos of flowers and nature. I adore the varied shapes of flowers - some soft while others are architectural in form - and their colours, everything from vibrant to delicate. I like to explore how light can bring flowers to life.
And what is your favorite color?
My favorite colour is teal – that beautiful mix of blue and green. Like the sea on a sunny day where the deep waters mingle with the shallows. Being a Pisces might have something to do with this. I also love shades of teal, including aqua and turquoise. Teal is a colour that brings me joy. I love the sea and ocean, although not so much when I’m in it, but I do enjoy being close to it.
Did you discover a creative activity or new passion during the corona Lockdown? What exactly?
I didn’t really discover a new creative activity, but I found time to do more writing. I have a passion for reading too and I read a great deal. I love books, holding them, and I enjoy collecting them.
Ellen, do you think creative people are happier in general?
I know I am happier when I’m writing or taking photos. However, creativity has more than one aspect to it. We put our hearts and souls into creating something but then it has to go out into a world that is not always respective and kind to it. I’m always nervous when a book is released, even though it has been through many drafts and has been edited. I don’t know what people will think of it. I mean, if my editor and ARC readers consider it’s good, that is a hopeful start, but even when receiving five-star reviews, it is crushing to receive harsh comments. All creative people wear their hearts of their sleeves. Yet despite this, I am much happier when I’m writing.
Would you say creativity is kind of self-therapy?
I would indeed. I think creativity allows us to get in touch with our deeper self. It allows us to work through problems without even realising it. We simply know we feel calmer and sometimes more reflective.
Well said. Would you say that creative people are more driven and disciplined?
I believe creative people are more driven, and they certainly need to be disciplined. Creativity is something deep within us. It’s what we are.
Creatives need to be disciplined. I have had three books published by Crimson Cloak Publishing. My next book is already finished and with my publisher. I’m writing the fifth book now. Even though I have a publisher, I don’t have a boss, a person, in my study telling me I haven’t written enough for today. I have to discipline myself. I find a routine is the best way. I write in the morning until about 1pm. Some days I might get more words down than other days, but I don’t worry about that, as long as I’ve done as much as I can. Some days, checking on research notes slows me down. Later in the day I do social media, which is also important to creative pursuits. Marketing and creativity don’t naturally fit, but it’s something that has to be done.
The meaning of “Creativity” is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness! Creativity is going beyond the usual, stepping outside the box. It can be defined in many ways, such as how a person explores ideas or uses different ways to solve issues and how one experiences life. So, what was your original idea, or what did you create during lockdown?
Lockdown in Queensland Australia, where I live, wasn’t as long as it was in many places, but it has had an impact. Altogether, I wrote two novels and a novella. I had one book published by my publisher Crimson Cloak Publishing. I also self-published a novella.
I also took many photos, although with not being able to travel, I had to confine myself to local areas. I have a lot of flowers in my garden, so I took multiple photos of these.
While you may have natural creativity skills, there are also skills that can be learned and developed over time. Would you say your creative skills are natural or trained?
I think my creative skills are a mixture of both natural and trained. I created stories in my head all through childhood and wrote from quite a young age. I wrote my first novel at eighteen. That doesn’t mean that training isn’t important. Taking courses helped to develop aspects of my writing. I think we need to learn and adapt all the time.
A new study from researchers has found that women are engaged in creative fields like art, music, and literature at higher rates than men and are generally more creative than men. What is your thought on that?
I’ve been involved with music and literature all my life, starting with writing, piano as a child, and ballroom dancing. My husband and I had a ballroom dancing studio for twenty years. I sang in choirs and was part of a musical theatre production company, both on stage and off, for over twenty years. These activities overlapped. My writing fitted in there as well. I found there were definitely more girls interested in ballroom dancing lessons. In the choirs, there were also more women than men involved. Tenors in particular were a vanishing breed. In musical theatre, I always found both more women and men were equally interested. In writing, I think it’s also fairly equal.
Oh wow, you had your own ballroom dancing studio for twenty years? So I'm sure my next special guest's life story and view on Creativity will fascinate you. I had the honor to do a Zoom Interview with an incredible ballet dancer for my blog series. Australia is part of the Eurovision Song Contest family for a while now. So you must have seen his performance at the Second Semi-Final in 2021. Stay tuned for my Zoom interview with dancer, choreograph, and writer Ahmad Joudeh, the King of Dance.
Thank you so much Ellen for being my Australian blog guest in 2021 and best of luck with all your creative activities and projects. I haven't been to Australia yet, but I really hope one day I can discover the beauty of your country. All the best, Lily xxx
If you like to know more about Ellens books, follow her on Social media or visit her website!
The Thornton Mysteries – a series of 5 cosy murder mysteries set into the late 1920s in Australia – now published by Crimson Cloak Publishing.