A Curiosity for Creativity

I have been engaged in creative pursuits of one kind or another for as long as I can remember. Creativity and people who lead creative lives are constant sources of curiosity for me.

Where do ideas come from?
How do they evolve?
What makes people creative?
Is it possible to develop creative skills?
How do we tap into our own creativity?

Part of this curiosity comes from a desire to be more creative and expressive in my own work and life. But it also comes from a fascination with the incredibly creative individuals I’ve had the great fortune to spend time with throughout my life. I have worked closely with art directors, writers and illustrators. I have friends who are landscape architects, garden designers and interior designers. My mother is a painter and my father was a woodworker.

The nice thing about creativity is that it doesn’t discriminate. It’s something available to each and every one of us. It’s not just for artists. It’s for editors, fashion designers, teachers, scientists, nurses, business managers, parents—anyone who needs fresh ideas.

So what, exactly, is creativity? The dictionary says it is “the use of the imagination or original ideas.” I especially like some of the synonyms for the word creative: inventive, imaginative, inspired, original, resourceful, clever.

It’s about doing things differently, or in a new way. There may be few genuinely new ideas, but there are always new ways of interpreting, combining, reworking and expanding upon old ideas. We encounter creative opportunities every day, but we have to train ourselves to recognize and respond to them. Often, creativity has to do with problem solving—though there need not be a problem to be creative. Many times, it has to do with taking something routine and making it more interesting. Or perhaps it is about taking a fairly straightforward assignment and finding a way to “make it yours” or to put your “creative stamp” on it.

Keep in mind that creativity derives from the word “create.” That means creativity is not just about thinking, imagining or dreaming. It’s about actually creating something, or doing something. So grab your camera, get out there and start shooting!