I've been rolling the concept and definition of creativity around my head for a good while. Talking about it to friends, reading what scientists have to say about it, absorbing the work of my fellow makers. Holding definitions, assumptions and conclusions up to the light, seeing where it pushes through. The passionate response I experienced caught me off guard. As a response to my surprise, it's time to dive deeper, to study, to report back on what I'm exploring.
This is a first of many rough drafts, I hope it inspires you to look at your world with a new light.
We are a creative species. Everyone has potential to be creative, and before you tell me you're not an 'artist'- that is not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a broader, truer definition of the word. One that encompasses new thoughts, being curious, problem solving. Our current society has narrowed the vision of creativity down to such a precise point, we aren't allowed to give ourselves full credit to be and become the curious, expressive creatures we are born to be.
Are you still thinking "but I don't make art, Cat, how can you say I'm creative?", let me say this:
I don't care if you can't paint a portrait, write a sonnet that makes your lover weep, or pluck melodies from a keyboard. Can you cook? Or garden, or program computers? Do you take photos that make you smile? Are you a scientist, an avid reader, a parent? Hell, do you doodle in the margins of your meeting notes?
Do you solve problems?
Did you say yes to any of the above? Did you say yes to something I missed?
You are creative.
We need to open the doors of creativity.
No- we need to bust it down, and flatten the walls. We are better individuals and a better community when we use that part of the brain. Like our muscles, creativity atrophies without use, and it can be reignited through practice. Find something that makes you think, something that makes you want to act. It can be anything, just go make something, write something new down, look at a problem from a different angle, take a class.
When you do new things (and my definition of New is just as broad as the one for Creativity), you use your brain in a different way than when you perform a known task. Our brains need to be challenged, creatively as well as logically. What are you good at? Can you challenge yourself to become better, or to simplify your method?
See what happened right there? I asked you to look at something old from a new angle. Did you? Then you just activated your creativity. Bam.
Now, go do it again. Try to touch base with your creative self every day. Even if it's just for a few moments, blow off the dust and start making friends with it. It's there, you have to find what lights it up, and keep the flame burning. You can do it. I know it.
Whew! I'd love to hear what you think, in the comments below or in an email if you're feeling shy or have more to say than a comment section can handle. We can make the world a better place, if we try new ways to solve problems and take time to play.
Thank you for reading. Now, go do something new.