For a very long time, I didn’t think of myself as a creative person.
Creativity to me was to be good at painting or drawing, or to write exceptionally beautiful poems. I couldn’t imagine myself doing any of those things.
As I got older, my definition of creativity changed.
First of all, the end result is not what matters most. Of course, if you’re creating something beautiful that you wish to share with the world, that’s great.
But what matters most is the act of creating.
It’s often tricky: how can we create in a world full of input?
And what does it have to do with language learning?
More than the classic definition
Like I said, creativity is not just about sculpting or singing.
When learning a language, the new words and sentences can give anyone the opportunity to get creative.
It’s possible to write poems, yes, but even writing about your own life is an act of creation. You’re using a different language to describe your thoughts, and that’ll never be the same as when you say or write these things in your mother tongue, or another language you might speak well.
You can create a world where you are honest about your feelings, where you describe your ideal life, or where you observe your environment with greater detail.
Once the words are on the page, you’ve given them a life, you’ve created that reality somewhere. (Sure, this sounds a bit “woo woo”, but have you tried it?)
Creating is output, not input
As for creating in a world full of input, I think it’s important to set the intention. Since creativity requires output, you’ll need to shut out all that input for a while.
It’s an act of rebellion, to turn off your phone for an hour, and to isolate yourself for a while. It’s hard to resist the temptation of checking new emails or answering social media, because that gives your brain that spark of “yes, we’ve done something”.
But where you’re reactive, you can’t be creative. (Same letters, different words)
That’s the reason I take dedicated off-time to write my newsletters, think of new ideas, and of course, journal about my visions for the future. And when I can, I do paint, as well – even though I’ll never share those creations 😉
Creating in Flemish
What I’ve seen happening when my learners or clients make the space to create something in Flemish – whether it’s their own short story or just completing a listening and writing exercise – is that it creates more opportunities.
Where you put your focus, is where you grow.
The more you write, the more fluent you’ll become in writing ánd in speaking.
So I’m wondering, what ideas does this give you to create something in Flemish?