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Bethel Creatives no., 14: Charlie Whitney

Interview conducted by Ella Meyer in the The Crossings’s series on creativity and diversity within Bethel University’s student body. The heart behind this series is to explore creativity in a broader sense and to be encouraged and inspired by the creatives on our campus and the things that they are doing. 

Charlie Whitney is a senior studying Communications at Bethel. Charlie lives near campus with her husband and loves to take her dog on walks around the ponds. She also loves going out for coffee with friends, running, being outdoors, watching movies, and spending time with her dog and husband. I discovered Charlie’s love of writing when we took Creative Writing together in the fall.  


How would you define creativity? 

Creativity is such a broad thing, and I think a lot of people in their own ways are creative, whether they seem creative or not. I think everybody has unique creativity. I would say creativity is thinking outside the box, and doing something that helps inspire other people and move people in a way that makes them think, whether that’s through a painting or writing or anything. 


At what age did you discover you liked to write? 

When I was younger, I always had a journal, we always had to do it in class growing up. In grade school we always had to write everyday journals, and I just really liked that because it was a good way to get stress out of my mind and get everything on paper. It didn’t have to be edited, I could just put all my feelings on a piece of paper, and when I started doing that for school, I started doing it on my own. Once I started taking English classes in middle and high school, I started really enjoying literature, and I was like, ‘Oh I can do this too, I can write!’ It didn’t have to be limited. That’s when I started to learn that you can be so creative in writing, and kind of do whatever you want; the page is yours. 


How do you express your creativity? 

I think for me, it’s just being myself. Not trying to be someone else but being creative within myself, like challenging myself at school or work, and trying to be honest with people and not trying to have a mask. Whether that’s through my personality or my writing, just trying to show myself how God created me. 


Do you like to read a specific genre? 

I really like reading feel-good literature, like happy stuff. But I would probably say creative nonfiction is my favorite because I feel like when you’re reading someone’s story that is true, it’s so compelling. Whether it’s a good thing that happened to them or a bad thing, it really makes you think and it’s somebody’s real story. It’s something they experienced, and I think it’s really powerful. 


How do you balance your workload with being creative? 

I think you have to be open-minded. When you’re in school it’s easy to think, ‘I have all this to do,’ and not really think of it as a learning opportunity to be creative. Just because you have to do an assignment and you might not want to read that book or do that paper, you can still be creative in it. So, I think you have to know that you can still be creative no matter what you’re doing. 


Do you have any wisdom you’d like to share with our readers? 

Just love the process. It takes time to learn to write; feedback is always honestly the best thing, whether that’s from your professors or family or friends. The more you do it, the more you practice, the better you get. Reading is also such a cool thing because you learn so much, and I would say it doesn’t have to be crazy, just take one step at a time. And have fun with it, and be yourself. 


Watch out for Charlie’s poem, “Young Again,” in our Spring Print Edition of The Crossings! 

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