Project Runway and Creativity

I've been watching a lot of Project Runway recently - (all of the old seasons are on Hulu) and I've found my work has been more prolific than usual. I'm busting out poems, short stories and articles daily (mostly to fill up my published work page) and I've started thinking about why.

Sure, I'm a highly motivated person and I love (capital L) writing. But what could possibly be so unique about this fashion design reality show that's got me so inspired? 

Project Runway is not a show about fashion exactly. It's a show about creativity - forced creativity at that. It's about harnessing the muse within you and forcing her to work. It's about editing, it's about taking risks, it's about taste, and originality and time constraints, all of which mirror the work of a writer. 

I have found myself an hour from a deadline telling myself to "make it work" or giving myself a runway critique in Nina's exhausted drawl, "I don't understand why you would use that verb, no woman would be caught dead in that verb!" Tim tells me to "edit, edit, edit," and "work, work, work." Don't overdesign turns into don't overwrite, and find your inspiration helps me do just that. 

Any advice the judges give the designers could easily be substituted into advice for a writer. Writing, just like any other art, is about contrast, mixing hard and soft, light and dark. We are successful if we produce the unexpected, find our voice, polish our work, and most importantly, find out who we are as a writer. 

"What do you want to say?" Tim and the judges always ask the designers. "What is this saying?"

A question writers may have more cause to ask themselves.

If you find yourself stuck in any creative endeavor take a break and watch an episode of Project Runway while you fold your laundry. If you pay attention, you might have your own make it work moment.


C. L. Brenton