The Creativity Complex

These are some rules that I came up with that define creativity and its relation with humans. We are users of a force called creativity. It was something that we all have access to, regardless of the tools are our disposal or our societal ranking. Some of us may believe that creativity was allotted to us from a higher power. Regardless of its origin and though it can seem elusive, creativity is very much part of our world and our everyday lives. 

It may serve us best to believe in the following Precepts, because they assume that we can (and will, with practice) live in a creative fashion. Creativity is more a way of life than it is a thing of circumstance and timing. By this I mean that I believe we can stay in a position of creativity if we foster it enough. And no matter the mundanity of the task at hand, we can interject the process with creative passion. This fashions us as the ultimate creators we all are. 

The Creativity Precepts are as follows:

  1. Everyone is creative. 
  2. You can never lose creativity. 
  3. Creativity is an infinite pool. 

Everyone is creative. 

Every single human being is creative, regardless of their rank and social status in society and regardless of whether or not they receive acknowledgment and attention for their creative endeavors. There is no human lacking the quality of creativity. We were all born with it and we will all die with it. 

Our modern society will have us believe that a select few are creative. Or that there is a ranking of who is more creative than another. I don’t believe in a scale. We are all creative in unique ways that are not measurable against others. However, it can appear that some people are more creative than others. This is because of a number of reasons. 

Those who appear more creative may have been subject to the following:

  • Consensus from a group of people (such as a  following on social media) that labels the individual as creative. 
  • Acknowledgment from an individual who has already themselves been acknowledged for holding creativity. 
  • Accreditation from a school that labels the individual as a specific type of artist. 

Do you see the pattern above? It is that those labeled creative have received external validation from other people or an organization. Then, creativity seems like an elusive club that requires some sort of authorization. It is not. Creativity is an expression. It is not a thing that exists with any conditions. It is unconditional. And every human being holds it.  

You can never lose creativity. 

Touching on the unconditional essence of creativity, it stands outside of a person’s age, valuation of beauty, engagement in mundanity, amount of mistakes that they have made. 

As a side note, I don’t believe in mistakes. We follow a path through life that requires us to make choices. Our values inform those choices and the roads that we travel. To speak about mistakes is to speak about choices that we have made and give ourselves the retrospective burden and guilt of having been uninformed, naive, angry, or other. We are the culmination of our values. We can take into the variables at hand, but to linger in false concepts like “mistakes” is to force the roll of seer onto ourselves. Of course, all this is said with the understanding that our actions have been congruent with our current values. When we go against our current values, it is because we do not value them enough. And then we must ask ourselves if those were indeed our current values, or if we idealize and internalize a set of values that we have not integrated into the consistent parts of our identity.  

 

Creativity is not fleeting. It may appear that way only because of the conditioning of society. And that’s when we need to start to consider the thoughts we have towards creativity. I know that I am creative because I do small things each day that make me smile and see the beauty of the creative life-force within me. 

For example, before I sat down, I was mopping my hardwood floors with my swiffer. But I am out of swiffer pads (and don’t plan on buying more because they are not cruelty-free and therefore, they don’t fit into my vegan lifestyle). So instead, I attached two cleaning wipes from a vegan brand and in such, created my own swiffer pad. 

An example like this shows the creative process of my brain, and also the connectivity of creativity with my values. 

  1. I ran out of a material that would enable me to clean my floors.
  2. I recognized that purchasing more of this material would go against my values. Note that while I could say that purchasing swiffer originally was a mistake, I opt to say simply that I was ignorant to the fact that the brand is not cruelty-free. From this, I can take away that I will research more thoroughly when I am shopping. Mistakes come with unnecessary allowances for my neglect to be a smarter consumer. 
  3. Going off of the design of swiffer pads, I thought about what similar item I had in my house that could most easily be swapped out. I opted for cleaning wipes. 
  4. Now that I found a similar shape (sheet) and texture (smooth, fabric-like) to swap the swiffer brand pads for, I simply fascened the wipes in the same way. Since the wipes are shorter, I used two and overlapped them. 

Now why am I talking about values here? Because I believe that our creativity is deeply integrated with our values. Once we are able to establish clear values for ourselves, we are able to refine the width and scope of our creativity. We are also prompted to make creative decisions that align with our true selves. My true self is in tune with my values. 

Creativity is an infinite pool.

Oftentimes, we hear about writers’ block or an artist being in some way prevented from using their creativity. Writers’ block has nothing to do with creativity. There is nothing extinguished within the artist. Writers’ block is instead an affliction of the human mind that works in counter to productivity. If we talk about the infinite pool of creativity, then we should talk about how to mine from this well. There are many ways, and in my experience, the quickest solution to overcoming writers’ block is to look at creativity as something that needs to be cultivated. 

We must be sure not to give creativity any elevated status, or we may determine that it is harder to bring it forth than other things. Instead, creativity is a cultivation of habit. To develop a habit, we must practice, and that takes repetition. It takes letting go of the notion of selling everything we create, and of the notion that all has to be comparable to our best work. 

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is an excellent book that delves into regaining creative flow. Cameron walks you through 12 weeks of lessons geared at helping you regain control over your work. One of the tools that she puts forth is Morning Pages, which is writing three pages in a notebook every morning when you wake up. Morning Pages were a key for me when I was writing my first two books. They enabled me to have a routine and to stick to a commitment I made with myself to write those pages. Then the commitment I made to myself to write 2,000 words each night seemed less daunting. I had already proven to myself that I could honor my creativity and make time for it. 

 

This was the start of a non-fiction book but I decided to continue focusing on fiction instead. 

Since creativity can never be depleted, it is our job to figure out ways to keep it all around us. To be clear, it is all around us. We need to be able to see it more clearly and use it at will. If we place value on creativity and see it as an innately human quality, we will be able to see it in even the most mundane of places.