Monday, November 22, 2010

10 Things I know about Creativity

This was inspired by a list by the same name in this column in the Worcester Business Journal. It got me thinking about my own "10 Things"

  1. Creativity is a habit. You have to make time for it nearly every day to get the most of it.
  2. "90% of everything is crap." It's called Sturgeon's law, after the science fiction writer, who when accosted by a woman who informed him that in her opinion, 90% of Science Fiction was crap (pardon my language, but I am quoting here.), he, with stated simply and calmly, "Madam, "90% of everything is crap." And yes, that means me and you too. Our biggest job is to produce the 90% not so good stuff to get to the good stuff. It's just the way it works, so that leads us to....
  3. Creative People have to forgive ourselves. In the same way that a quarterback has to forget the last interception, we creative folks have to forgive that 90%. I am a good photographer who takes 20-30 mediocre and about as many bad shots to get the shots I can actually use and publish. And my writing? You don't want to see the original drafts of anything I write.
  4. Everyone can be creative, so embrace other's creativity as well as your own. That's not just poets and artists or songwriters. Embrace the creative plumber, mechanic, housewife, teacher because they add to life and we can feed of their creativity and grow more of our own. We creative types are not as special as we sometimes paint ourselves to be.
  5. Take a deep breath. Whether it's meditation, prayer, or just a moment to center yourself before you start creative work, a time to still our minds and make it more receptive to new thoughts is well spent.
  6. Good cooking has to simmer. So does good creativity. Try not to put yourself in a place where you have to have a creative product on short notice. Let it simmer, it will be a better stew, I promise you.
  7. More ideas mean more good ideas. OK, it means more bad ones too (See number 2 above), but asking questions, asking everyone for ideas will give you more stuff to simmer as you create. Don't be afraid of questions. Most people love to be asked.
  8. Enjoy it. Don't make creativity a chore. It's play. And when it's play, you can do it a long time with high joy and energy.
  9. Get sleep. Manic creativity that runs through the night is good, but it likely robs us of long term, sustainable, productive creativity. So a good sleep routine is a long term creativity enhancer.
  10. Find people who encourage you, and who you can encourage. We all need encourages and creative work, the actual work itself, tends so to be introspective. So having encourages helps us along. And getting such a gift, we should give it as well. it's good for the soul, and good for the creative spirit.
That's all for today. Have a blessed week.


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