Do you think of yourself as creative?
When Maryann posed this question, my answer came right away. Loud and clear.
Nope! I’m not creative at all. Even though I desperately want to be.
Instead of creative, I’m analytical, responsible, boring, practical. I’m…. conflicted.
On the one hand, I know I’m creative. Everyone is. It’s part of what makes us human. Whenever I question what is, bring about change, solve a problem, overcome a potential obstacle, or come up with a new way of doing something, that’s creativity at work. By this yardstick, I’m creative all the time.
For example, I’m an awesome cook. I can whip up something tasty out of what looks like nothing. (Gordon Elliott used to have a TV show where he randomly knocked on someone’s door at dinner time and cooked an amazing meal from whatever they had on hand. I can totally do that.) But to me, this isn’t especially creative. I simply have a certain level of knowledge and skill in this area so I can apply what I know about cooking technique, flavors, and food chemistry on the fly. With good results.
I think a lot of the things we humans do all the time taps into this type of creativity.
And at the same time I also believe that this stuff – using our ingenuity to live our lives – doesn’t really count as being creative. Being creative is loaded for me.
I have a lot of internal rules about what it means to be creative. Conditions of creativity…
Creativity is a talent; you either have it or you don’t.
Whatever level of creativity you have is what you have. You might get more skilled at expressing it, but you don’t get more creative.
There’s no social support for being creative. Everyone (not you or me, of course) thinks creative people are irresponsible, flighty, and unable to function normally in society.
If you don’t use it, you lose it. Even if you were creative as a child, if you haven’t kept it up you won’t be able to be creative as an adult.
Being creative takes a tremendous amount of time and energy – think tortured artist who spends 36 hours in his studio not sleeping, not eating, and painting the masterpiece of the century. Being creative requires large blocks of uninterrupted time.
Being creative requires inspiration. You don’t just sit down and decide to be creative. You can’t consciously access creativity; you’re either in the zone or you’re not.
Creativity is about bringing something completely original into the world. If what you’re doing is using what’s already in the world in a new way, it’s not art. It’s craft and thus, not creative. Singing is not creative because it’s merely an interpretation of music that’s already been written. A performance, rather than a creation.
Creativity must involve arty things – painting, drawing, sculpture, writing, etc. I’m not a creative person because I don’t have the skills to make something – i.e. I don’t draw or paint. I don’t know how to use a camera. I don’t sculpt. My writing sucks. Therefore, I’m not creative.
Creative people are good at whatever arty thing they’re doing. Creativity is validated by other people judging the product of it good.
These beliefs I have about creativity and about why I’m not creative keep me from trying things. Secret Play Date, for example. Because, OMG, that’s for Creative People and I’m so not creative.
There’s definitely more here for me to explore…… creatively, of course.