Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Musings ~ Misconceptions of Creativity

Many years ago, while in college a good friend gave me a book by David Edwards called How to be more Creative. The book contains a series of exercises designed to stimulate creativity. The book is now out of print, so for the next few weeks I thought I would share with you some excerpts and tips from this book which I hope you will find useful.

Misconception #1: Being creative means being artistic.
"Often people mistakenly equate creative ability with artistic ability. To be creative, they believe, you must paint or draw or sculpt or dance. Yet artistic creations are only one form of creativity. There are many ways in which one's creativity can be expressed. Inventors are creative, and so are cooks, architects, salespeople, mothers, fathers, and of course children. There have been books written on Creative Business, Creative Chess, Creative Decorating, Creative Electronics, Creative Marriage, Creative Photography, even Creative Survival, which indicate that creativity is not limited to a particular field or profession.

In fact the reverse may be true. It's possible that a painter can be less creative than an insurance salesman. And an auto mechanic can be more creative than a writer. That's because a work of art created by an uninspired, routing formula is really less creative than an imaginative sales campaign or an ingenious solution to a mechanical problem. Artistic output may be one expression of creativity, it is certainly not necessary to be artistic to be creative."
Misconception #2 : Creativity demands great skill.
"This misconception assumes that creativity and experience are the same thing. Actually, they are two complementary skills. Abraham Maslow, in his psychological analysis of creativity, separated "the inspiration phase of creativity from the working out and the development of the inspiration." The latter phase, he wrote, "relies very much on just plain hard work, on discipline of the individual who may spend half a lifetime until he becomes finally ready for a full expression of what he sees."

Creativity involves technique, yes, a technique for solving problems. And creative abiltiy is a skill that can be learned, a mental skill. But becoming more creative is not the same thing as learning to paint a realistic portrait, write a novel, or design a miniaturized solar cell. It's true that greater creativity can enhance the efforts of anyone who wants to paint or write or design. But each of these achievements requires creativity and a learned skill. Don't discount your creative ability when you may simply need more time to pay the dues of experience."

Misconception #3: C=(f) I or Creativity is a function of intelligence.
"Many people think you have to be brilliant to be creative. Yet tests have shown that beyond a minimum level of intelligence, there is no correlation between intellect and creativity. The researcher who conducted the tests concluded that "Being more intelligent does not guarantee a corresponding increase in creativeness. It simply is not true that the more intelligent person is necessarily the more creative one." Of course, the creative individual may be a genius on the intelligence scale, but the reverse is also quite possible: he or she may possess no more than average intellectual ability".
I hope you found this post helpful, validating or simply a refresher. Next week and in the coming weeks I will continue exploring the idea of creativity with posts pertaining to blocks to creativity.


Gaston Studio said...

I totally concur that these are all misconceptions!

As a self taught decorative artist, I tell people that want to know how to become a painter, "It's 10% creativity and 90% practice." And I have to work hard at the 90% part!

Plus, as the book says, creativity is basically found everywhere an individual wants to inject it to make their job results better.

Can't wait for more misconceptions from you!

1337 Art said...

Thank you for posting this - it looks very interesting. I'll have to see if my library has this book.

TheClayMuse said...

looking forward to the coming posts, thanks so much for sharing!

Linda said...

This is a great post. Thanks for sharing.

There's something about being creative or doing "creative" things, whether it's making jewelry, cooking or drawing that reacts positively in my brain and psyche.

Samantha said...

I enjoyed this! And it confirms for me that I can still be creative and not able to draw a stick figure... ;)

esque said...

Thank you for sharing this! It's too bad that this book is out of print! I wholeheartedly agree that these are all misconceptions! Being creative is so much more than just being artistic!


Sue Furrow said...

I would imagine every person with a shop in Etsy would love to read your post. I knew these things from reading the same type of books all my life but it's good to hear again and bring up some memories. Thanks for sharing.