Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Backward OX, Sep 5, 2009.
What I said ^^
For me, it's not about 'learning' but about 'allowing' myself to be open to the wonders of existence, as in everything I experience and witness and come in contact with in my daily life. By being open, and curtailing our natural cynicism, we enhance our capacity to accept that which could and might be. You might say this 'allowing' or 'accepting' is about 'training' (other than learning) ourselves to be able to handle the challenges creativity puts in our path. By being more open, and even 'childlike', to what surrounds us, we naturally become less resistant to the often burdensome imaginative process, and so the journey begins. Take actors who, when beginning their career, have to initially train their brains to memorise small tracts of script, until one day, down the road of experience, they find it relatively easy to memorise whole scenes or even acts in a couple of days. So, be open and active, and allow your inner child out there to meet the public (so to speak).
I think "creativity" is innate, and that you "learn" to how to suppress it (usually in the name of following rules or being polite, or whatever). So, with respect to writing stories, in particular, I think some of us have to undo a bit of that in order to reveal our ideas and sometimes even to know what ideas we actually have.
Creativity is learned. The first thing I became good at was drawing at about eight years old. And people always call it talent when they see one of my drawings. They have know idea how much work I put into it. It was just an hour a day, but that adds up. I did that for about six years, which means thousands of hours of work.
Then someone would ask me to teach them, and after a few days, when their work had hardly progressed, they came to the conclusion that art is innate, and gave up.
To get away from anecdotes, history shows this too. When small groups of people are motivated to reach high goals, there's no limit to what can be accomplished. The Renaissance was just a group of people that aspired. The great Greek plays and philosophies could have been produced anywhere in the world. There are plenty of talented people sprinkled across the globe. I could give many examples of small countries gaining advantages over large countries, which are bound to have more "talented" people.
I think it is important to be concious that everything around us, affects us; very often our every day life, people we meet and places we visit. The thing is to be a good observer of it and to know whatever you are participating you can get some creative ideas.
I guess it also might have to do with what a given individual perceives as a "freeing" experience (to explain why some see "creativity" as innate and others think of it as "learned"). I don't think of creativity as coming from anywhere other than from within one's self (which is why I think of it as "innate"). And that also explains (to my thinking) how "creativity" is so unique to the individual who expresses him(her)self. But most of us do have to learn how to unshackle it a bit as we learn what it takes to conform to a given level of social comfort. Less so as children, just as you suggest, who are only beginning the process of learning how to conform.
You learn it by expanding the way you think, by tackling issues and aspects that you never considered. A fine example would be this question.
Nice one Ox.
You chuck preconceptions. You take what is and flip it on it's head. You follow arguments and ideas back to their precursors and antecedents so that you can diverge as faaaaaaaaaaaar back as possible.
You dip into The Dream Time and give it credence. You deny Pretty Princess and The Macho Knight a place in your mind and instead welcome The Pretty Knight and The Macho Princess.
You accept that we are not all the same as the tree-hugger globalists would feed us and instead embrace that we are all different.
Now, learn that different is better than good, it rocks!
Put your shoes on backwards for a whole day just to soak in and learn from a bit of stupid.
Get a passport. Use it.
Eat something disgusting. Try and learn to like it.
For one whole day, pretend to be attracted to the opposite gender that usually attracts you.
A month later take a whole day and don't pretend, but actually try and be attracted to that gender.
Shun being cool. Feed your inner geek.
I'll be back with more later after I eat some 'sgetti.
Join the Ministry of Silly Walks.
You let go. Just that.
Art is the light of infinite, unconditioned Consciousness filtered through the tinted lens of finite, conditioned consciousness.
You allow Creation to express itself through you. It will turn out different from everyone else's expression because you are different from everyone else.
I relate creativity to curiosity. Being inquisitive, learning things, and being open minded to anything as a possibility is where creativity lies. The question "What if?" is where creativity stretches it's tentacles across your brain.
Being a left brain person doesn't automatically shut you out from being creative. Being open to creativity means being silly, absurd, crazy, and imaginative. It doesn't mean you have to believe your creations to be logical or reality, but that you are open to it no matter how improbable it may be.
Creativity isn't so much learned but allowed to expand. Everybody has the ability to be creative. However, not everyone is going to be creative in writing, but maybe woodwork, painting, gardening, sewing, cooking, and music... there are many places for creativity to manifest itself.
People who are more right brained, tend to be more creative in more areas, but left brain people might be more confined to certain areas of interest, or preference, or natural ability.
The way for a left brainer to release the creative power of the right side of your brain is to stop thinking logically about it. You might wonder how you can possibly stop doing it, but it is nothing more than a matter of letting it go. Left brain people tend to feel they live "more in their heads" thinking constantly about everything as a problem/solution type of way, which is useful in writing, but it stunts the creative side of your mind by putting shackles of reality on it.
Reality is perception. There is no real reality. Reality is what you perceive it to be. So, to step out of the thinking reality of things is to let go of your perceptions and be open to anything being possible, not matter how probable it is.
To get into fictional creative worlds, it is more about asking what could be possible -- which is everything -- and how you could put it into a story. Creating a character or a plot is easy and generally logical, but coming up with unique characters and plot scenarios is where the creativity is.
It is partially a left brain activity. Observing the world around you, people and their behavior, events and possible outcomes are all logical (thinking) type activities. The right brain with it's subconscious abilities, brings all those things together and asks "what if." What if this type of person were in this type of situation. What if flying dragons were real at some point in history how would humans deal with it now? What if multiple dimensions are real and could or would other creatures come across and try to invade humanity?
These things above are all possible, but not highly probable. But letting go of the probability constraints gives your right brain the freedom to flow with what could be possible.
Does that make sense?
You get sent to a boarding school at a tender age, and you are forced to pit your wits against a bunch of nuns...
That would make for a great memoir.
only the requisite skills can be learned...
one must be inherently 'creative'... and not all are born with that ability/mental bent...
I subscribe to this theory
more than this one
I think creativity comes with being a part of Creation. All that is required is that one be open to it.
I don't see creativity as a manifestation of divinity, or any kind of mystical force. . but I do think it is innate to all fully functional human beings. It is a part of what defines the intellectual capacity that sets us apart from other animals.
Creativity is nothing more than a means of processing information to generate something "new". Whatever we "create" is inevitably a combination of the familiar, but since there are seemingly infinite ways to combine our observations, it isn't really difficult to be original. This is why writer's block is a self-imposed state of mind.
Try to imagine a new primary colour. You might think you've done it. . . but whatever strange colour you come up with is only a combination of the primary colours you know. It's easy to imagine something you've never seen before, playing around with what you have seen. This is both the power and limitation of creativity.
We are all creative to varying degrees, because we'd be crippled vegetables if we weren't. . . But I think the brightest lights among us tend to be the least inhibited.
Just as Molly suggested, as we grow older we learn to mute the awesome potential of creative thought, limiting ourselves to what we perceive to be the most practical applications. We learn to ignore the millions of distracting creative thoughts we constantly generate. . partly because we have to. It's too easy to get lost. I think some people get swept up in that current and never find their way back. (insanity ward)
But there are other reasons, too--our indoctrination, beginning before we can even make decisions, into social rules and taboos, limiting schools of thought and limited cultural views, to name a few.
Learning, whether through experience or study, gives you more material to be to creative with. . But to tap into creativity itself, you must lower your inhibitions, at least within the safety of your own mind. That's why so many people turn to drugs. The best solution is obviously to learn how to do without them. . but for some, drugs can effect a permanant change, by showing them what they are truly capable of. For others, (me) it can be as easy as making a firm decision: I will not be confined.
The ways and methods are endless, but the goal is always the same--to break through your self imposed limits. I say self imposed, because nobody has the power to affect your mind without your consent. This is something you allowed to happen, a decision you made, subconsciously or otherwise. You did it, and you can undo it.
Thanks for the reply, and note the typo.
I've PMd you.
Interesting post. Now all I need is the "how" (without drugs)
Every summer I go up to the Sierra with some friends, we rent a cabin, and we have fun. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, cannot understand why I always bring my camera and take photos of the same exact mountains, the same trees, and the same buildings time and again. To him they are exactly what they appear to be. To me, for whatever reason, I see something else.
Now, does that make me creative? No, it just means I have a vivid imagination or simply that I can appreciate beauty. Nevertheless, I know it is because I have a wild imagination and a bit of creativity on my side that I can keep myself entertained for hours without needing human contact. When I was a kid and my mom would drive through the downtown area of my city, I would always imagine the massive water tower we had exploding and, for whatever reason, an endless supply of water shooting out and covering the entire city, all the while our car was able to outrun it.
Is that creative? Well, I think that has more to do with that whole imagination thing. That, however, is where it starts. Simply seeing things that are not there and taking enjoyment out of them is the catalyst for being able to create those sorts of things. That is why you CANNOT learn to be creative... because you already are, you just don't use it. People tend to see the world as either black or white, but those of us who are able to tune our creativity see honest colors.
Creativity is born from your imagination and your imagination is fueled by asking questions constantly and, once you receive the answers, asking them again and again. Think of creativity as a muscle, questions are its exercise.
Flow, brother, flow. Liquid thoughts turn into great stories!
Allow yourself to be bored.
Switch off the Mass Media Entertainment Monster that turns your mind into a content zombie, and then force your brain to entertain you without any use of stimuli. It's hard at first, especially in our time and age. People had no other choice in the old days, and they came up with amazing tales of the imagination.
As a kid I lived quite remote from everyone else and had no choice. My childhood memories mostly consist of wonderous worlds of the imagination.
Boredom is the source of all good.
Learning creativity...why good sir you learn it at bath time and at bedtime and especially inside cardboard boxes. You learn it watching clouds and stars and little wagons on Mulberry street. In other words you learn it to combat boredom.
I should have described my situation fully.
I know exactly what I want to write; I have already written the story up to a point where I have a character in a particular situation, but I can’t find the words to take it further forward. That’s what I deem a creativity problem. And I don't believe it's anything to do with self-imposed limits.
To the matter of "innate vs. learned," I think there's a specific combination of factors going on.
A person supposedly "born" with innate creativity can certainly have that creativity suppressed by indoctrination, oppression and deprivation of creative stimulus and a person "born" with very little innate creativity can have that creativity fostered in an ideal environment until it blooms like a vast, wild and diverse garden.
I believe there are limits to the amount of creativity that can be developed by an adult with limited creativity. Much of our creative nature, rather than being "born into us" innately or "learned" the way we learn to drive a car or operate a machine, is ingrained into our personalities which develop, largely, during our formative years as small children.
This is not to say adults cannot learn to be more creative--they can!
It's just much easier for a child whose creativity is fostered rather than suppressed.
I believe the influence of the "inborn" or "innate" such as genetic predispositions is very little, but that it does exist. There may be some whose left-brain activity is, through genetic or birth reasons, limited. Just as some people will never be good basketball players because they grew only to be five feet tall, it's possible that some were born with a limited creative disposition, but I think that's rare--nor does being born six foot seven make one a great basketball player, nor does being six foot seven make one a better basketball player than someone else born six foot five.
I think, more often, it's environment and exercise of our creative impulses, as well as old fashioned hard work and time spent working on the creative process, and not genetic predisposition, that drives a person to be considered a creative genius.
Rembrandt and Mozart and the great artists and musicians and writers and thinkers and philosophers of the ages did not become so by genetic accident. They became so through dedication and perseverance, as well as having creative thinking fostered from an early age.
Culture plays a lot to do with it, also. One who is taught from birth, "never question authority," is less likely to be creative than one who is taught, "question everything." The former will go through life thinking, "This is the way things must be," while the latter will go through life thinking,"How can things be made different?" One learns to "think outside the box" so to speak.
PS. You may have heard this one before, if not, this is your creativity challenge:
If you have a square with nine dots
How do you connect all the dots with only four straight lines, without picking up your pen?
Separate names with a comma.