How important is creativity in your life?

Wow! 14 people have completed my survey – What does creativity mean to you? That is awesome, thank-you. If you have not taken the opportunity yet, please add your voice to the conversation! I am learning so much about what the creative experience feels like on a personal level.

When I was thinking of the questions for the survey, it was tricky to generate ideas which would prompt meaningful answers. Everyone is so different and lived experiences would likely run a full spectrum of possible responses. Yet, there seems to be some patterns developing which I had not thought of in my original assumptions. Interesting stuff. When my survey is complete, I’ll post the aggregate graphs so everyone can see the clusters.

The second question of the survey relates to how important creativity is. I think that even if there are differing opinions about what creativity means or what kinds of activities should be deemed creative, everyone seems to have a sense of it’s importance. In my answer choice for “important” I included the bit about “balance”. For me, the really creative things I want to do, must be balanced against a whole bunch of stuff I have to do. For example, cooking a new recipe at dinner is somewhat creative, but all the old favourites and the dishes are not so creative. Not to mention all the grocery shopping and recipe research which had to be done ahead of making dinner.

Maybe creativity will have greater importance in everyday situations if we place more value on it? Shelley Berc wrote a good piece entitled, “Creativity in everyday life“, on her blog called, “The Creativity Workshop”. I’d never given much thought to adding creativity into my everyday tasks, simply through perspective. It is worth a try.

I’ve always thought it was important to have a space in order to “be” creative. This was a priority for me, long before computers came on the scene. So I still keep a space, is only a desk for now. Maybe one day it will be a whole room again. But for now, even my desk is hard to claim as my own. I often end up on the couch or in my bedroom. Good thing I need very few supplies for writing!

Do you think of yourself as a creative person?

I’m curious. When someone says they self-identify as being creative, what do they mean? I think of myself as a creative person, I would use that label, or agree with it if someone asked me. I create all kinds of things and have creative thoughts. But, I was speaking with someone who I think is really creative and she hesitated to characterize herself in that way. She clarified that she considered herself “crafty”, but not creative. She thought the term “creative” applies mainly to artists.

That got me wondering, is the word creative only applicable to someone who has a certain set of skills? Do you have to be paid or commissioned for your efforts? Are some pursuits not serious or special enough to be considered creative? Is knitting less creative than painting?

I was reading a comment online from a woman in Scandinavia who said that you had to earn the right to call yourself creative. Since she had completed her schooling, (in photography), she was now “allowed” to use the term creative to describe herself, but she only did that in her professional work. Do people commonly have such limiting beliefs about the concept of creativity?

There have been many articles written which detail lists of common characteristics among creative people. While these are interesting reads, these traits are not unique to creative people alone. In fact, many smart people have these abilities. So maybe we are all creative, if we have attained a certain level of success? But there were so many highly creative artists who didn’t achieve any notoriety until after they died.

If we think back to childhood, everyone was creative. Children are creative beings. As a parent, I had the wonderful opportunity to relive that as I watched, played and created with my kids. And now I can see what happens to all that innate creativity. It gets schooled out. My children want to get rid of the lego, put away all those art supplies, cast off all those projects which once filled them with hours of joy.

Coloring

I am not worried, they will come back to it, as I did. Hopefully it doesn’t take them as long as it took me.

This is the first, in a series of 10 questions about creativity. If you are interested in my survey, please follow this link. I would love to hear your thoughts, here or there.