Creative Nonfiction: Myths of Creativity

Myths of Creativity

By Dave Hood

The world is flooded with creative people who have enriched our civilization with new ideas, inventions, discoveries, objects of art, such as painting, sculpture, photography. Imagine a world without art? Imagine a world without inventions, such as the Internet, smart phone, tablet, digital camera? Most people believe they are not creative. It is this mindset that “I’m not creative,” which prevents them from nurturing their creative thinking and expressing their creative abilities. Many people also have misconceptions about creativity, and these misconceptions originate from myth. These myths also prevent the person from learning creative thinking and nurturing creativity. There are countless myths that prevent creativity. Here are the most popular:

  1. Only artistic people or creative types are creative. The fact is anyone who can generate ideas, solutions, new approaches, inventions, discoveries is creative.
  2. You must be a genius to be creative. Many ordinary people have produced things that are creative, such as poetry, fiction, photographs, art, music. The key is to prepare to become creative. You can start by mastering the skills and knowledge of a the creative field where you desire to express your creativity.
  3. Creative people are mentally ill, crazy, or mad. Some people are but not all. There is definitely an association between mental illness and creativity. For instance, Van Gogh, Hemingway, Virginia Wolf, Jackson Pollock suffered from mental health problems. They were able to see what the everyman was unable to see with their senses or feel in their heart.
  4. People who are creative are born with creative talents. The facts are that creativity can be learned. You can start by mastering the skills and knowledge of the field you desire to express your creativity. If you dream of writing poetry, fiction, personal essays, learn the rules and guidelines of writing, and then master the art and craft of creative writing.
  5. Creativity is based on a spontaneous spark of inspiration. The fact is that discovery, invention, digging up new ideas is hard work, requiring intentional, divergent thinking. Rarely is creativity a result of spontaneous inspiration.
  6. Creativity originates from the muse, like the Greek Goddesses of the Muses who inspired creative types in ancient Greece. Traditionally, it was thought that creativity was bestowed by God on a few talented. Research into creativity has determined that everyone can learn to be creative.
  7. Creativity is based on originality. The facts suggest otherwise. Most artists and inventors and explorers steal existing ideas, existing techniques, existing knowledge, and then remix, morph, transform them into something different.

The famous artist, Pablo Picasso said, “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” What he meant was that people who refuse to play, refuse to break the rules, refuse to think logically, and hold on to that mindset “I’m not creative”  will never discover their creative abilities. Each of us is creative. We can start by learning a few creative thinking techniques and applying them any time we require a new idea, solution, approach for a problem or challenge. If we desire to become a creative type, such as an artist or musician, we must master the knowledge and skills of the particular creative field we wish to express our creativity in. For instance, if you dream of becoming a pianist, learn how to play this musical instrument, practise, discover, experiment, break the rules, engage in frivolous play, substitute logical thinking, which in convergent thinking, for divergent thinking—searching for as many possibilities as you can imagine. We are all creative in many ways–but misconceptions and creative myths prevent most people from thinking creatively and expressing their creativity in some way. Imagine a world without creativity. It would be a dull place to live.


About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
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