What is a Creative Individual?

Definition – ‘creativity’

‘The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.’


Oxford Dictionaries


I consider a creative individual to be somebody who spends time regularly in creative pursuits, thinks creatively, or identifies themselves as being creative. There may also be those who consider other people to be creative, as in a well-known creative person.

How to protect the integrity of creativity?

There are some things I associate with a creative mindset, and others I do not.

  1. Creativity always benefits from time, whether this is from making time to pursue creativity or taking a break from non-creative work.
  2. It’s also about balance. Too much non-creative work will exhaust you and stifle your creativity, whereas too much time engaged in creativity may leave you uninspired or lost.
  3. If you’re looking for immediate creative results in a creative project, as opposed to a flash of inspiration, you may be approaching it the wrong way. If creativity doesn’t require perseverance and patience, then it ceases to be a journey and becomes instead a role carried out for another purpose.
  4. There should be an intention to share creativity with others. There is a time when your pride and joy is only yours and there is a time when you should release it, in an acceptable form, for others to appreciate and enjoy. It’s a form of communication of what is most dear to you, and if you stop that communication or withhold it you burden yourself, hiding who you are.

What is a creative lifestyle?

Living a lifestyle conducive to creativity could be said to be a lifestyle free of routine, repetition, and standard practices. It can be an environment where new ideas spin around and the individual thrives from them, moving creative projects forward. It’s where you always feel you’re moving forward, following the feeling, cementing the old, experimenting with the new, and finishing with one part only to begin another. You’re never finished. The old informs the new. In this sense you could say that creativity is timeless.

Should I choose to be creative?

That’s a difficult question to answer, in part because for every person who identifies as being creative there may be as many, if not more, that do not identify in this way. Some of the things that are seen as the antithesis of creativity include routine, repetition, traditional ways, conformity, rules, and black-and-white thinking. These modes of thinking are prevalent in society and perhaps in every individual, to some extent.


It’s possible to enjoy the antithesis of creativity because it can offer reliability and security in an unpredictable world that is changing at a fast pace. It’s also of use to governments, administrations, and large businesses to create a structure for success and the carrying out of important tasks. It’s a way of making sense of the world and getting answers but it’s not what we would call creative.


Some of the advantages of creativity include thinking out of the box, developing new ideas, practising, experimenting, collaborating, embracing difference, appreciating art or objects of value. Many creatives are isolated, though some decide to make an active effort to network or reach out. It seems creative pursuits do not often conform to established systems of working and socialising, and time spent on creativity is time lost on scaling the system of work and social life.


It seems almost banal to choose creativity when there is much to be lost, and yet lots of people, including myself, do choose it. It offers self-fulfilment, individuality, expression, and a particular branch of skill or knowledge that you may not get elsewhere. You have a feeling you’re moving forward and that feeling is sometimes all you need in the absence of physical or visual evidence. Creativity can be synonymous with happiness, in this sense.

How does society view creativity?

Society does not often place high value on creativity unless you’re well-known, or you have an established audience. In this way creativity itself is measured by numbers, of people or money, in determining the value of its contribution.


How society views creativity does not always stop people from engaging in creative pursuits and it shouldn’t. It’s my view that if there were more creative people or what they did was accepted in most of society, people would be rewarded or appreciated by society for offering something different and unique in a world that demands the same, regardless of how far their contribution had travelled.

Where is my Creativity?

Creativity

‘The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.’

Oxford Dictionaries

Internal and external factors

Before delving into my own experiences, let’s look first at how we define creativity. The first things we think of are often, as in the definition above, imagination, ideas, and inventiveness. However, creativity is influenced by many factors, both external and internal. Internal factors may include personality traits such as being open-minded, adventurous, and experimental. External factors include whether you are in the right environment, an environment conducive to creativity, and what resources in terms of ideas, writing, inspiration, or people that are available to you.

Conformity

Creativity can be more prevalent in some people or places than in others. For example, it is often rooted in people or cultures who do not conform. Perhaps it is a wish to explore new avenues of thought and expression, rather than to be told how to think, work, or behave. As a result, it attracts a greater following, and is popular among those who see its value.

Who are creative people?

Some occupations are considered creative while others are not. Writing, music, and art are creative pursuits, but jobs that are considered normal, routine, or that involve tasks that leave little room for group innovation or personal development would not be considered creative. Sometimes there is confusion as to what would constitute creativity. Many writers of fiction wouldn’t think running a business would be creative. For many a business represents the antithesis of their creativity. Yet there are other fiction writers out there; some of whom have had previous backgrounds or relevant knowledge in the working world; embrace creative business practices and actively encourage creativity in their businesses. It may depend on how we define creativity and which type of creativity we enjoy.

Balancing creativity

Have you thought about how much you are using the creative part of your brain, and whether this can suffer if you spend too much time using the other parts of the brain: editing, running a business, etc.? Independent authors sometimes need to be editors and publishers too. Indeed the number of tasks expected of ourselves can be overwhelming. It affects our mindset, and it’s not out of the question to assume it can also affect our creativity.

My experience – author and editor differences

I find, as a copy editor and proofreader, the skills I need are quite different from those I use as an author. It can be confusing when you think of yourself as both, or combine job roles in order to succeed. In 2016 I went to Bradford Literature Festival and I was confronted with the problem, as if my brain was a hat and I could don the author or the editor one at will, and yet without having decided which one to use I was left with no hats on, confused, so to speak. Do I introduce myself as an editor and have business cards ready just in case? Or do I aim to take advantage of opportunities to improve the quality of my own stories and improve my publishing and marketing model? I didn’t know, and attended as an observer. If you consider yourself a professional at anything, you shouldn’t be going to a place where your target audience is only to observe or take a mild interest.

You need to prioritise in life, and that means deciding on a structure, and brain pattern, and sticking with it. Everything else has to be secondary, for a specified time. I chose to prioritise my freelance copy editing and proofreading, and there is a part of my mind that notices how differently I think now: planning, organising, targeting, and analysing. I see things through the lens of efficiency. I plan and research my novels more than I used to and only consider jumping in when all the pieces are in place. Patience and preparing quality become paramount.

When being an indie author was the priority my mindset was less calculating, searching for promotional events and literary opportunities or the next best thing, and making connections with readers, were the most important priorities. Having stalls and holding writing sessions helped too. In my experience, authors seek out approval and they have a real passion for their writing and the inspiration their writing comes from; they have a unique background and world view to share. Writing during this time revolved around my direct experiences of having Asperger Syndrome. The condition was an ideal research topic and this informed the attributes and struggles of my characters. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, without caring too much about planning or self-editing until I had drafts down. I was moving forward all the time without knowing exactly where I was moving, yet at the same time I was impatient, uninformed, and without having planned sufficiently, but these weaknesses are not necessarily characteristic of most authors.

Prioritising has helped me rectify some of the mistakes of one mindset, and has prevented confusion. As much as we humans want to have the ‘best of both’ it isn’t possible; you’d need two minds, and we can only aim for the ‘best we can’.

Have you noticed any differences between what you consider the creative part of your brain and the non-creative part?