What Is Creativity?
I’ve never been one to enjoy mathematics or sciences growing up. I was the type of girl who acted with her heart and not her mind. Nowadays, I’ve found a good balance of both. Although — that’s not what this is about. Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been drawn to reading, writing, singing, and dance. I even dabble in a little bit of drawing and digital art. Fine arts have always been a reliable outlet for me. Just recently, I finally understood that creativity can’t be perfected or limited to that one specific category. But as a generalization, it can be practised, it can be refined and become your own version of perfection. Anything regarding creativity is subjective, that includes math, science, etc. People who can recognize their abilities and put that to used to generate ideas and multiple possibilities, in my opinion, all fall under the category of creative.
“[Y]ou need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternatives that people can generate but the uniqueness of those alternatives. The ability to generate alternatives or to see things uniquely does not occur by change; it is linked to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the enjoyment of things heretofore unknown. (page 394)
Creativity isn’t just limited to the arts, but it is something that can be learned. In spite of that, there are still handfuls of individuals that claim they are simply “not the creative type”. But, that argument is flawed, nevertheless, because every person isn’t completely lacking in some levels of creativity, our skills are all trainable.
The Creative Process
Each person has their own routines and habits when it comes to their process. Most believe indulging in the arts is a natural skill and is the only way to express creativity. Yes, it is understandable that some people are more inclined to surround themselves creatively in those mediums, than in other ways. However, everyone has their own thing. Not all people enjoy writing or drawing, etc. If you have things clouding your mind and you need an outlet for those thoughts to come out, the hobby that most interests you is the best way to release it. Typically, it can be for fun but it doesn’t shy away from helping come up with new solutions.
According to this article by James Clear, the creative process includes 5 steps:
- Rounding up knowledge on the said topic or conducting the proper research material
- Thoroughly analyzing the material from different perspectives
- Temporarily stepping away when it gets too overwhelming—it’s hard to focus that way
- Letting the idea come back when the urge to pursue it also comes back
- Developing the idea and shaping it to success based off of feedback, adaptability, and criticism
My personal creative process is similar to this one. It’s easier to feel dejected at losing the motivation and blaming yourself for having too much ambition without the so-called drive and creativity to back it up. Additionally, I think creativity vanishes when you stop enjoying whatever outlet was the release for it. I used to be afraid of letting that creativity in me free for the sole reason that I was uncomfortable with the thought of me growing attached to it. It was a safety net for me and me alone—and in the past, being there for myself was my last priority. But ultimately, I learned that you need to be able to release those abilities because it’s the only way to actually have a tangible (not literally) piece of creativity.
These steps are not necessarily meant to be in order, figuring out your own creative processes and capabilities is anything but linear. This merely acts as a road map, it’s limited but it does offer a bit of guidance and comfort if you ever feel lost. I was there once, too. The creativity we have inside of us is there for a reason. It’ll help us understand where we stand in our own journey, which directions we need to go in and which paths need to be taken to help us reach the goal.