And now a simple fact that has kind of ruined the “I’m a creative!” thing for far too many people: “Creativity requires more than inspiration. It requires us to build skills and knowledge, to master the craft.” Don’t sweat this thing, gang. Just do it:
by Scott Myers
What exactly is creativity and how do we foster it? This is not only a question of interest to people involved in the arts. There is a lot of energy being dedicated toward its study in business and science. Recently I discovered an interesting overview of these efforts in this article: “Elephants in the Room of Creativity and Innovation Talk” by Milena Z. Fisher, Ph.D. The whole piece is well worth reading, but this section jumped out at me:
Creativity preachers are constantly encouraging their audience to “follow their dreams.” Every time I hear this message I can’t help but think about the legions of young and promising kids who want to be actors, musicians, inventors… Unfortunately, some of them do follow their dreams but to the point of misery and even drug abuse. Take a look at the faces of these young people in Paul Jasmin’s photos from his fantastic album “Lost Angeles”. In the foreword, Jasmin explains the following: “Here are the ‘tarnished angels’ that hang out on Hollywood Boulevard or in local motel rooms, that have come to L.A. looking for the American dream, Hollywood style, and have quickly discovered it takes more than just desire to succeed.”
Creativity requires more than a dream. In many cases, people struggle to turn their dreams into a reality not because they lack ambition, motivation or imagination, but because they lack the necessary skills and knowledge. Too few opportunities and bad luck are two other obstacles. Creativity-in-action is more like the art of survival than daydreaming – you have to choose your tools wisely and “pivot” if necessary to find another, better solution.