Creativity can not be put in a box

Creativity can not be put in a box

In a recent Instagram post I mentioned what creativity means to me. It had me thinking a little more about the process and definition of creativity.

Creativity is something hard to define. The Oxford dictionary describes it as: the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. I find this is an over simplified version of reality. There is a much deeper way of acknowledging and moving through creativity than just using your imagination to make something. Creativity is an energy within that you try to harness and learn to use. It is a way of looking at the world around you and assessing it in a way not quite like anyone else. It is an ability that can be dormant, or very lively. There is an ebb and flow to creativity and creative energy just like everything else in life. 

If you read up on creativity, or listen to conversations about creating; at some point you will come across the theory that there are 3 types of creativity. The types of creativity are cited as: divergent thinking, problem solving, and inspiration and imagination. Divergent thinking is explained as discovering multiple options for addressing problems, as opposed to finding a singular answer. Brainstorming and predicting are examples. Problem solving is the 2nd type of creativity. I can say from experience most artists are good problem solvers. Mostly, because they are used to finding non-conventional solutions to reach the end goal of making their art. Assuming similar situations will conclude with the same outcome is not what artists do. They are prepared to think outside the box to get the results they want. Even if it is not easy. The 3rd type of is more what you would expect when you think about creativity: inspiration and imagination. The ability to conceive and express an idea uniquely is the one with which most creatives connect.

As much as I see this theory of creativity as an improvement on the Oxford definition, I feel these 3 types of creativity do not necessarily stand on their own. Any creative person would be overlapping and combining these types towards every single project, or problem they encounter. These types are definitely aspects of creativity, but to give them their own category as a type is pushing it a little too far. Creativity is not that simple. 

What are your beliefs about creativity? Comment below!

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Well said dear friend. I like the three that certainly overlap as you said. And I always like to add that creativity is not “owned” by the arts. . .I think of house builders, mechanicsm seamstresses etc and of course scientists. And I love seeing the photos ….

Patricia Dunn

This is a good post! It has really got me reflecting on what creativity is and what it means to me. You mention creativity as an energy we try to harness and learn to use and I can really relate to this. To me, it is also sometimes like a wild horse: we try to literally harness them, to break them, to shape them to our own needs and desires, when really, the best in them (so the horse or the creativity) shines when we allow them to run wild and just live automatically. This is what I am trying to do. I am trying to stop the control aspect of my work and just allow it to flow. This is not easy for me at all but I know once I am able to release the harness my work will feel more directly coming from me than from the control of what is expected or needed from outside of myself. This is not to say we don’t need both! It is the other side of the same coin. :) xxx


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