BYU English faculty member stresses importance of creativity

Shelli Spotts is an adjunct professor in BYU’s English Department. Spotts says creativity is important for everyone to learn, not just writers. (Photo courtesy of Shelli Spotts)

Shelli Spotts, an adjunct faculty member in BYU’s English department, says creativity is important for everyone, not just writers, artists, actresses and singers.

“If you have a great creative process and you know how to engage your own creativity, you can create anything, as long as you know what it looks like,” Spotts said. “But it’s about learning to find patterns on your own.”

Spotts said people can be creative as long as they understand the circumstances, abilities, and tools needed to create something.

Spotts said she wants her writing students to find what their own voice sounds like, because everyone has a unique voice to contribute. She said people can be passionate about their interests and advocate for change, but if individuals don’t know how to articulate these things in their own voice, they will always imitate someone else.

“I love working with students,” Spotts said. “I love being able to see their writing and see what they have to say about the world.”

Channing Spotts, the eldest daughter of Shelli Spotts, said her mother always encourages her and others to start where they are and with their passions.

“She just fosters an environment and a place where… whatever you’re passionate about, you can do something about it, which I think is really important because it just gives people the autonomy to do what they want. they want and not what they think. they should,” Channing Spotts said.

Shelli Spotts stands with her husband and children outside their home. Pictured, left to right, Shelli, Channing, Ryder, Sutton, Evie and Shelli’s husband Ron. Spotts fosters an environment where people are encouraged to do something about their passions. (Photo courtesy of Shelli Spotts)

Spotts said finding the places and times of day when one feels they can be more creative is important in determining personal creativity. She said it’s important to sleep well and eat well because creativity is a higher need and basic needs must be met before higher needs.

Spotts said thought patterns are also an aspect of creativity to pay attention to. She said budding creators should learn to write things when they get an impression or think of something interesting.

She also encouraged individuals to learn how to research ideas, follow interesting rabbit holes, and put those things together.

Spotts has always been a writer. She said she has published poetry, non-fiction and fiction and is currently working on a collection of essays and two different novels.

“I love telling stories,” said Shelli Spotts. “I think we…as humans are conditioned to connect through history, and so it’s a very powerful way to connect with others.”

Spotts said the world around us right now is bound together by stories. She said social media is entertaining because it tells stories that keep us engaged, and so storytelling is a super powerful tool.

Shelli Spotts released “Conversation on a city bus” in January 2022 through a group she works with called Big Ocean Women. Spotts is an advocate for finding your voice through writing. (Created in Canva by Emily Morford)

Spotts said her path to her current job was unconventional as she attended school throughout the time her children were growing up, earning her master’s degree when her eldest daughter graduated from school. secondary.

Women have this idea that they have to be perfect at everything they do, Spotts said, and women don’t have to do everything and they have room in their lives to do the things they are passionate about. She added that doing these things nurtures their individual souls and spirits.

“One of the essay collections I’m working on right now is actually a collection that looks at women’s creativity and the spaces available and the spaces we create for her,” Spotts said. “I feel like sometimes we have to go in and create our own space for the ways we want to create – the ways we want to contribute in a way that maybe isn’t the same as the way of which a man is creative.”

Spotts said women should find a mentor who has done some of the things they seek to do and knows what it’s like to try to balance those things.

“Understand that there are seasons in your life for doing all kinds of things,” Spotts said. “But…at some point you have to make a decision about the things that are really important.”

Spotts said she has many interests, including playing the violin, music, acting, sewing and quilting. She said she had had the opportunity to do all of these things in her life, but had to prioritize them based on what was most important at the time.

Shelli Spotts poses with her family. Spotts had to balance his interests throughout his life, sometimes to the exclusion of other things. (Photo courtesy of Shelli Spotts)

Kath Richards, one of Spotts’ former students, said she was the kind of person who is proud and unashamed of everything she loves.

“Being able to see her love so hard made me feel like I had nothing to do with being a guilty pleasure,” Richards said. “Anything could be something I like, and it’s okay.”

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