(ˌkri eɪˈtɪv ɪ ti, ˌkri ə-)
n.1. the state or quality of being creative.2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.: originality, progressiveness, or imagination.3. the process of using creative ability.
I was asked to write about my creative process, specifically “When and where am I most creative?”, “What do I do to cultivate/develop creativity?” and “How do I maintain / sustain my creativity.” Wow, nothing like asking an artist to peer behind the proverbial curtain.
The first thing I had to do was look up the definition of creativity. It seems like creativity is one of those words we toss around so much it has lost a certain amount of meaning. If we ignore the first definition and jump right to #2 it seems that creativity is a fancy word for successful problem solving…
…with the emphasis on successful.
We all problem solve; the only difference is that artists create their own problems to solve. Its like an amazing game of” what if…? ” be it creating a painting, a new piece of music, a sculpture or a photograph. The problem can be a technical problem, a visual problem or even an emotional problem. When an artist is successful in his problem solving pursuits and manages to communicate with the viewer, that’s when the magic happens; the magic of creativity.
So if I look at these questions and change the word creativity to problem solving the answers quickly come into focus. Because each one of these questions is complex, I am going to break up my answers into several posts. Maybe the others members of the team will step in and give their perspectives as well?
First up: “When and where do I do my problem solving?”
This should really read, when do the answers to the problems you have created for yourself come into focus? In the busy life of an active artist, attentive mother and business partner the answer is: those rare moments when I am still and I can let my mind wander. These moments tend to be at live music events and road trips.
When I get behind the wheel of a car and hit the open road or when I stand in the middle of a crowd at a musical event I tend to let go of the here and now and let my mind wander freely. It is amazing the connections that can be made when you just let your mind wander off aimlessly. So often the answer I am seeking will pop up unbidden or a connection will be made that I hadn’t seen before. Basically it is that proverbial “Eureka!” moment.
I am not someone who attacks any problem directly. I have faith that somewhere in the depths of my sub conscious those problems I have set up for myself are being circled and turned over as I passively search for a possible solution. I have discovered from past experience that if I try to force the issue nothing good will come of it. I mentioned recently about my moment of procrastination and I sincerely believe that this is part of the process, a necessary pause before the path once again reveals itself.
If the timing is right and the path becomes clear I often leave these moments of clarity feeling strangely energized as well as with a wonderful “to do” list of ideas to try.
I sincerely respect that there are no two correct answers to this question, this is just what works for me.
How would you answer this question?