Meditations on Creativity

Meditations on CreativityPhoto license

What is Creativity?

Creativity is producing new ideas. Totally new. In reality, most ideas have been produced before but are re-presented in a new jacket. There are only so many ways things can be done. Even some of the greatest inventions of all time were produced in more than one place at the same time.

In less exciting terms, creativity is making something new. A new design for an old product is creative. A new explanation of an old concept is creative. Even this article your reading is creative since it came from my head. But this article, like all creativity, comes from learning as much as possible about a subject, inputs, before producing original material about the subject, outputs.

Creativity and Craziness

Where does creativity come from? Creativity by itself isn’t very useful. Having lots of wacky ideas with no particular object would be about as useful as writing down your dreams when you wake up in the middle of the night. Some people do that. You might be able to get something useful out of the chaos, but it’s more likely you will impose meaning onto it.

The best creative ideas come from gathering a great number of ideas and then culling out the weakest and least interesting. For example, I have a lot of ideas for stories and papers I might write. I have a file of one line story ideas where I add a great many ideas. As I go through the idea file, I delete some and select others to expand into an outline. Of those I expand into outlines, some are trashed while others are developed further.

Another example. When I’m writing a piece, I will add everything that comes to mind as I’m writing. There will be little notes between sentences, paragraphs that are totally out of place and sometimes I write so much on one of the points that it becomes its own paper. Writing too much makes it easier to find a decent article.

Creativity also means going against assumptions. Take an idea that you assume you know the truth about and try to prove the opposite. Sometimes you will succeed.

Creativity and Clarity

Daydreams are better than night dreams because they make some sense. The same is the case with creative ideas. They are much better when you are awake and thinking clearly.

Such is creativity. There must be content and there must be something to do with the content.

Creativity and Success

To succeed requires three things: mind, spirit, and body. Any task requires these three elements.

Mind

You must have learned enough about the task to know what to do. You need to have gathered enough knowledge through either study or experience that you are able to create something meaningful.

Spirit

You must be willing to do the task. You must feel that your idea is worth spreading. For example, another serial killer novel? Who cares? A novel about a serial killer trying to save her soul by exterminating the blackmailers she used to work with? Could be interesting.

Body

You must actually do it. A good idea and the will to see it carried out are not enough. You must take action.

If any of the three are missing, either the task isn’t done or it’s done poorly.

The Creative Cycle

It seems like creativity builds up over time with more and more ideas being generated until there are so many that they must be captured in point form just to catch them all. Eventually, they run out and seem to be absent for a while. Then, it’s time to do the grunt work of writing them out or putting them into practice.

Do we run out of ideas or out of energy? It could be a natural cycle that kicks in so we will have time to put our ideas into practice. Do you also find there’s a creative cycle?


Article by Ivan Izo.

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