Thursday, October 29, 2009

You Are So Creative!

What does creativity really mean? What defines a creative idea or what makes a person creative? Are we all creative or are there certain people who are inherently more creative than others? And why do we all strive to be creative?

With NanoWrimo only a few days away I've been thinking about planning and writing a lot. And the start of any creation is an idea. And before the idea is creativity.

Writing that sentence just now I see that the root word 'create' says quite a bit about what creativity is and what makes someone or some idea creative. I believe we, as humans, all have a desire to create. We all need some way of expressing ourselves by building and creating something from our mind using our hands. And that goes a long way to answer my last question above - we want to be creative because it means that we are building, contributing, and creating something new.

My sister is the most creative person I know. She has many interests but she's also very opinionated about the things she likes and hates. Her musical talents have been her main medium of creation and although she hasn't 'hit it big,' she still finds the time and joy in writing and singing her music. Although she's stuck with a boring secretarial temp job right now she is already planning her next adventure. I'd always hoped she would get a job where she could write ad jingles or slogans because she'd be so great at it. And because I have such a high opinion of her creative view I was flattered to tears when she praised a story I wrote a few years ago (my first NanoWrimo attempt, actually).

We admire creative people and strive to find creativity in ourselves. We all want to be unique. We all want to have a great idea we can be proud of.

So how can we cultivate creativity in ourselves and others? While you're thinking about that, let's give you more to ponder:

Mark McGuinness asks "Is Everyone Creative?" and includes Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk as well as quotes from Gordon Torr. Do you think we're all born creative or are there special creative people out there?

If you've decided that we can learn to be more creative, read on. Mary Jaksch of Write to Done gives us a fantastic overview of the Directed Creativity process developed by Paul E. Pisek. It outlines four phases: preparation, imagination, development, and action. This is how I'm going to start being more creative.

Want more things to work on to become more creative? Request approved. Dean Rieck illustrates 11 Traits of Highly Creative People at CopyBlogger. At first glance it makes sense that creative people have these traits. But at second glance, when you decide you want to develop some of these traits, it seems overwhelming. So, let's take it slow and start at the first one: "Have the courage to try new things and risk failure." I think NanoWrimo is the perfect vehicle to improve on this... Maybe we can move on to the second one in December.

Or maybe we should start with a simpler list. Leo Babauta gives us exactly that in his post "The Little But Really Useful Guide to Creativity" on his blog Zen Habits (which is a great one, by the way). The list is helpful, simple, and, most importantly, motivating. Let's go be creative!

And, since I usually do things in fives, my last creative creativity link. In your quest for fantastic and amazing ideas, think about where they come from. Dustin Wax of Stepcase Lifehack writes: "What separates the creative from the not-so-creative isn’t so much the ability to come up with ideas but the ability to trust them, or to trust ourselves to realize them." The rest of his post offers answers to the question "Where Do Ideas Come From?" and I must say they are rather good answers.

So what do you think? What do you do to increase your creativity? Where do your ideas come from? What are you having for dinner tonight? Just leave a comment, any comment.

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