Definitions of Creativity
June 23, 2012
I’m recovering today from the whirlwind of last two days, feeling so amazed by all the talent on display and impressed with the hundreds of creative people present at the same conference, sharing their knowledge and skills with one another.
I’ve been thinking about creativity a lot, what it means, how to channel it, where it comes from, and how to use those inspired ideas to turn them into something satisfying and tangible. Children are great examples of creativity in action. Their minds are free to make up worlds and crafts and ideas and art with their wild imaginations and most express themselves creatively without reservation.
But then something happens as we grow. We start to care what others will think and then we squelch our creativity deep down out of fear. I think that’s where the common phrase “I’m not creative” comes from, our adult shell refusing to let our childlike inspiration run free. I believe we’re all born creative, and as adults, we need to consciously tap into those ideas, those feelings, those moments, and take action to express them, whether it’s writing or photography or art or design or whatever subject it is that brings forth those unique ideas.
On this topic, I asked a few ladies who express their own creativity with great confidence and finesse to share their personal definitions. I hope you enjoy their responses as much as I do.
“Creativity often happens for me when I’m out and about in Mother Nature (even if it’s only the Urban Jungle). It’s combinations of color especially blow me away, like the trees in a forest whose perfect shadings of multiple greens and browns inspired my living room walls and trim.” – Elaine Griffin, Interior Designer
“The thing about creativity is that it works best with three ingredients that most of us try to avoid. The first is margin, you know like white space. I do my best creative work when I give myself permission to mess around with no expectations if I know I need to be done in 15 minutes my creativity is squelched. Creativity takes unscheduled time.
The other ingredients? Risk and limitations. If you don’t take a risk then you aren’t really being creative are you? And those pesky limitations? Those are the parameters where the creativity happens. My most creative days last year were when I worked ahead of time and decorated for my sister’s book release party. I limited myself to decorating with only book pages and then I had time to take big risks knowing if something didn’t work out, I could make something else.” – Nester from Nesting Place
“You know you are in that creative zone when you realize that you haven’t eaten in 10 hours, your shoes are untied and you are about to literally pee your pants but you can’t seem to pull yourself away from that amazing booth at the flea market that is selling that one thing that you need. True story. It’s almost debilitating at times – that zone can be dangerously fun.
Creativity is all about instincts – you see something amazing/unique/one of a kind and your stomach lurches and panic sets in because there is a chance that before you have time to ask the vendor how much it is, someone else might see and and buy it. It’s truly a hoarders fear, but its one that designers have, too. The second you see that perfect thing the room that’s it’s going to be in flashes before your eyes – its like it all comes together and this was the key – without this piece the room is fine, but with the piece this room could be in a magazine. It’s not just about good shopping, its all about imagination.” – Emily Henderson, Stylist and Designer
“Creativity is where my personality lands. It is within each of us to create and we just have to find the right medium that inspires us. For me, it’s design.” – Marian of Miss Mustard Seed
“Creativity is when the visual images that enter my brain mix together and the synapses spark and in my mind I have a vision. Once it’s stuck there I have to take steps towards creating. The key is to listen to that voice and those visions and respect that it’s not silly, it’s real and that idea is valid and valuable. I believe most people have that capability, but some don’t know how to act on it (yet).” – Diane at In My Own Style
For me, creativity often comes unexpectedly, when I’m surprised by a new discovery when I’m out and about or reading something or hearing something that peaks my interest and if I hadn’t been present in that moment, the idea never would have occurred. It strikes when there are no distractions, with a peaceful or even quiet state of mind – when there are no pressures to perform and I’m open to inspiration from unexpected sources.
Creativity is achieved when a person pairs a passion in their heart with the knowledge in their brain, and a chosen medium, and then gives themselves permission to make something with that idea, accepting that the result could be a failure or a success. Often creativity requires going against the established rules of thought and pushing forth beyond what we’re “supposed” to do so that we can create something new and fresh. It’s rethinking, reinventing, rewiring, reworking or simply adding your own spin to an existing idea. It’s giving yourself permission to be different, to see the things that others don’t see, and pursue those ideas with passion.
What is your definition of Creativity?