The following is an excerpt from a new book project I am working on called You’re NOT Creative… and Other Lies About Creativity You Might Believe
You might be looking at this book and wondering how serious it is. After all, it’s got a green demon-looking monster on the cover. Honestly, it’s as serious as a funeral. So many people walk through this world under the misconception that creativity is for a select, anointed few, and all the rest of us are doomed to wait for their creative products to be doled out to us as we wander around numb, like drones and worker bees. No wonder so many people are discouraged, looking at the immense problems of our world and waiting for someone to do something about them.
Well today I want to tell you, somebody is you and that creativity that you think is so elusive has been in you since childhood, since birth and it’s still there waiting to be rediscovered, brought out and put to work. Some of you aren’t believing me. That’s because you’ve been lied to for far too long.
So let’s start with the basics, creativity and artistic ability are not always the same thing and you don’t need artistic ability (though I will argue in these pages that almost all of us are born with that too, but not yet, we need to work on disproving one lie at a time). Creativity is about problem solving. If you’ve ever solved a problem, you were probably creative. If you’ve ever figured out a way where there seemed to be no way, you were creative. If you’ve ever made do with what you have on hand or used an object for something other than its intended purpose, you were creative. Creativity is in us all. You are creative! You just need to know where to look.
Over the course of this book we will be disproving the lies that most people believe about creativity and we will provide exercises to help you build your creativity. Some of these exercises will seem easy and others will be difficult, but I encourage you to try them all. The reason for this is simple, your creativity might well be pretty buried, and these exercises are designed to help you dig it up. As you work on these exercises, make note of the ones tat come easier to you, the ones you most enjoy. These will provide clues to where your strongest creative gifts lie and help you to find ways to put those gifts to work and that is what we’re about to do… Get to work.
Exercise 1: The Generator
Creativity is all about ideas, so let’s start there. Get a sheet of paper and a pen or your phone or computer or however you record things and start writing ideas. Any ideas. Anything you want about anything you want. Solve problems, create ideas for a novel, a rock band name, an invention, anything you can think of. At this point there are no bad ideas, no stupid ideas. Also I want you to ignore limitations (it’s harder than you think), you have all the resources, the money, the ability, and the people that you need. Just create a list of as many ideas as you can think of. This is called free-creating. Keep it light and keep it fun and generate all you can.
For some this might be intimidating. It can be very hard to think without limits and parameters. If the above is too hard for you, narrow it down. Think of a problem that you believe needs to be solved and come up with as many solutions to the problem as you can. Take all the time you can and the same rules apply, i.e. there are no bad, stupid ideas, and you have everything you need (we’ll deal with real-world limitations later).
Go for it!