“I’m not creative.” My friend Shelly heard these words over and over when she sought help with decorations for a women’s conference.
If she’d asked me, I would have said the same thing. Mind you, I’ve written three full-length novels, started on the fourth, and have ideas ricocheting around in my head for the fifth, sixth, and seventh. But I had boxed creativity into the category of crafts, and you don’t want to hear stories about my attempts at tying bows or pulling the trigger on a glue gun—although I have hot-glued some incredible blisters.
After I grasped the truth Jenness blogged about—that the ultimate Creativity Expert made us in His image and blessed us all with a capacity to create—I smacked my head and muttered a few of those names to myself that I’d never let my kids say to each other. (Dummy, noodle-head…you get the idea.)
Teachers use creativity when they think of new ways to present a concept to students. Computer experts use it when they devise clever new applications for our gadgets. Moms use it when they concoct shrewd ways to get their kids to do chores, eat their peas, and keep curfews. Lawyers use it…okay we won’t go there.
Mark Batterson writes about God and creativity in his book, Primal. After speaking about the two hemispheres of our brain—all that stuff about intuitive right side versus the logical left side—he makes this statement: “Being half-minded is no better than being halfhearted.” I’d really like to love God with all my mind as well as my heart.
Three concepts help me in embracing creativity: risk, randomness, and reams.
Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in developing creativity, said, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
I have to risk the chance that not all of my ingenious ideas will be great. I have to take a chance on failing. I have to throw caution to the winds at times and ignore the advice of Mrs. Pitts, my third grade English teacher. (I kid you not, that really was her name.)
So, I write an incomplete sentence if it sounds better or end a sentence with a preposition to avoid sounding awkward. I’m working at ignoring the critics sitting on my shoulder, both real and imaginary ones, because I want to risk being the writer God made me to be and write to an Audience of One.
When life quenches the child-like spark of creativity inside me, randomness can reignite it. Shelly (the same friend mentioned above) gave me an alphabet cube. When I need a new idea, a creative detail, or even a solution to a problem, it’s amazing what happens when I roll that cube and a random letter pops up. I brainstorm with that letter, and somehow it lifts me out of the rut. I’ll post more another time on how to use randomness with your writing, but I already hear my Ponderers sighing at my long-windedness. Getting excited about creativity does that to me.
This just means oodles, scads, gobs. No matter what you’re brainstorming, the more ideas you come up with the more likely you’ll get something really unusual. I read once that at Disney no one was allowed to pooh-pooh any ideas during their brainstorming sessions. Sometimes a silly idea provides a stepping-stone to a fabulous one.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all if creativity has more r’s. We’d love for you to leave us a comment telling us what you’ve learned about creativity. Extra kudos for you if they start with r.
And get ready for this: I’m adding a $20 Barnes and Noble card to the gift basket!
Photo credit: flickr.com