I realized how uncreative I was when the water colour painting I envisioned in my school art room, turned out to be a mess and my art teacher nodded her head in sympathy! Drawing and painting were always things I longed to do – the talent I wish I had. I resigned myself to being an uncreative person for life!
There was one creative thing I wished to do too – and that was to write. When I was in Class 10 I wrote a story that the teacher liked very much. However, before she asked me to read it out in class, she checked if I had copied it from someplace!! Her reason for asking was because I had used words like ‘valise’ and ‘valet’ in my story. Thankfully, she believed me and also told me to use language that fitted into the milieu I lived in. I’m not sure if that was an encouraging or disheartening experience, but I learned from it.
Still I hestitated to give writing a real go. It wasn’t until 8 years ago, when I started this blog, that I began to take writing seriously. However, I still considered myself uncreative.
Can You Learn To Be Creative?
My perception of creativity changed dramatically when I read and attempted to follow Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’. I realized that all of us are inherently creative. Our creativity is blocked by life’s experiences, but mostly by an inner critic that stops us from being all we can be. I began to see creativity as an expression of my spirituality. (In this context, do read my friend Martha Orlando’s recent post, In His Image).
This life-changing book taught me to tell my inner critic to take a hike! I began to be bolder and more creative in my writing.
And recently, the talent I wish I had was let loose in the Mindfulness For Intentional Living Workshop I attended. I realized that all of us can paint. We are all artists. It does not matter what my inner critic says about my art or what any one else has to say. I’m going to paint and doodle and express myself creatively and joyfully. And that’s what I’ve started to do. Here are a couple of samples.
So if you were to ask me if someone can learn to be creative, I’d have to say we’re all inherently creative, but we have to learn to still our inner critic and start expressing our creativity. And what is a must is that we constantly open ourselves out to new experiences and ideas and learn how to express our creativity.
I’m happy to know that all over the world there is a move to discuss creativity, to learn it and even to teach it!
Gerard Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State University, talks about learning and teaching creativity:
First, my own personal experience in going through creativity training. As a young man I was the poster-child for someone who was uncreative, had much more of an athletic bent. Through undergraduate course work in creativity, I was able to dramatically improve my creative-thinking prowess. So personal experience. Second, as a practitioner, both as a trainer and educator, I have worked with thousands of people and watched their transformation as a result of creativity training. Finally, as a scholar I am familiar with the research that has experimentally tested the ‘trainability’ of creativity – and the evidence is conclusive. Creativity training has been shown to significantly improve creative attitude, creative performance, and creative problem-solving skills.
I’ll have a lot more to say on creativity in the days ahead as I participate in the Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 with the theme, Creativity and Inspiration.
What do you think about yourself? Creative or uncreative? Can one learn to be creative?