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Nursing creativity
There are a lot of creative types of all kinds on THINQon so I wonder if we might begin a discussion on the matter. How do we relate to our creativity? Where does it origin from? Is it something active and conscious or is it always lurking under the surface of our skin and thoughts? Is everyone creative to a degree? How do some people nurture their creativity and let it crystallize? Does it require a degree of dedication ?

I imagine everyone relates to their creativity differently. We all regard its sources differently and employ it to different effect. But are there any universal guidelines we can outline in order to develop or at least better understand our creativity?

I heard someone regard their creative "genius" the other day as not belonging to her. She described it much like a daemon that inhabits her body and forces her hand to write. I liked this description because it rejects the egocentricity of so many creative types we encounter on a day to day basis. I mean the types that realize they are talented and want you to realize it as well. But in the way this author regards her creative spirit--as a sort of continuous weather pattern passing through her body- I think she more aptly approaches the inherent duality of creative people. 

I don't think creativity is intrinsic. I think it is something that we can capture but never hold on to for ever, like catching a firefly in your hands. In that moment we peek inside our fingers to see it glow, we also allow it the opportunity to escape. Is there any way we might train that firefly to stay in our hands? Is there any way we can control a storm of creativity, when it approaches, how hard it rains, and for how long? Or is it one of those things that just happens like a summer thunderstorm that disappears as suddenly as it arrives? But might it possible to improve our forecasting system so we can make sure not to miss the storm when it blows through?

I rambled about all this somewhat here: why do we write? But I want to expand beyond writing and beyond outlets to know if it is possible to imbue my life with creativity and with art all the time. Is it possible to instill the creative daemon into every facet of the way we live, every walk through a park or cup of coffee? Can we find hold on to that firefly even in the regular mundane of the human experience? Is that what it means to nurture creativity? To listen for it in every waking second like some people listen for their breath?

If so, what does creativity sound like?
I believe that humans are inherently creative.  Our thoughts, actions, work, dreams, feelings, and relationships are all uniquely rich, new and exciting.  These all have elements of creativity in the sense that they produce something new.  Somehow, we have taken this wonderful quality and diminished its richness by only admiring geniuses like Einstein who have discovered major novel theories.  If you expect to be an Einstein, you will probably be disappointed, but I feel it is very limiting to view output as creative only if it is the output of a genius.  Creativity comes from our subconscious and we reach it by anticipating its expression.  For creativity to flourish in some area you need at least the following:  patient training inspired by curiosity and eventually, courage to do something new.   That is, mastery followed by experimentation.
Great post. I like the idea of that creative, artistic energy somehow bursting it's way through the fingers of the unwitting artist as opposed to it being a stallion, trained and mastered by the equestrian. For me "creativity" (whatever that really means) comes in waves. I have bursts of motivation to begin small projects (sewing, sketching, poetry, free-writing, sculpture, whatever). Mostly how I express it is based on the availability of required materials, and I am ashamed to admit as such a lot of it is left just daydreams.

I like the idea of a sort of creativity-storm "radar." On the other hand, I think of how creativity is in itself almost a rebellious act, and how if I personally tried to harness it'd be gone before I started.

I used to want to be a writer when I was young, and I eventually wrote journals and journals and poems and poems. But, as I mentioned, I'd start a journal, I'd doodle on and collage up the cover, I'd write my name a thousand times, I'd write a few entries, and then I'd lose interest. I'd find a new journal with some blank pages and attempt to start fresh with the goal of filling it's pages, like writers are "supposed to." I'd doodle, I'd write a few entries, and find something else to hold my interest. For me that's what creativity is about - not having limits or expectations, not necessarily having goals or fully-formed ideas for what's to come. My best doodles were always the ones that started as small nonsensical scribbles and ended as flourishing and detailed designs. My best pieces of fiction were always the ones that started with a small pebble of an idea and ended up completely out of the realm from where it started. I think if I was expected to function within a certain, say deadline, I'd lose the willingness and maybe even the ability altogether, to be "creative."

In response to Amber Collins
One additional thought to add to this discussion is to mention what Henri Poincare said:  “It is by logic that we prove.  It is by intuition that we discover.”  I would substitute the word “create” for “discover”.  How do you then develop or cultivate intuition that leads to creativity?  In my experience, intuition is enhanced by curiosity, intense concentration, knowledge of the subject matter, and discussion with intelligent colleagues.  Ultimately, it is the courage to allow yourself to think something new.

A delightful book that discusses these topics is “Intuition: Its Powers and Perils” by David Myers.
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Latest Post: July 24, 2010 at 10:23 PM
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