If been thinking a lot about creativity (and the creativity industrial complex) over the past twenty-four hours. This time the prompt was an article posted to Salon, about which an esteemed friend of mine wrote, “I don’t often read something i wish i wrote. this is one.” I gotta say that I share that sentiment…

So, creativity, eh. Well, here’s my thoughts, for what they are worth…

Creativity is simple. Profoundly so. It simply consists of accepting the possibility of making utter crap, and thus possibly looking foolish (even if just to oneself), and the the willingness to rip something entirely apart, or even burn it if need be. That’s it. If you you can do those two things then everything else is easy.

Oh, and all the rules and tips??? They are bunk, total shite. They have nothing to do with creativity; they are tools for avoiding creativity, means to mitigate risk, manifestations of fear and excessive caution. All the guides to color, rules of composition, everything that professes to make creativity easy, they have nothing at all to do with creativity. They teach you how to make someone else’s work.

That doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad; they just have nothing to do with creativity. They help avoid failure; they mitigate risk. They are about product, not creation. Sometimes creation is ugly, messy, and disheartening. That’s life. It can be grueling and downright brutal, but it can also be as easy as pie. If you don’t mind completely fucking something up, creativity is everywhere. If you are simply worried about the end result, you’re not even in the right ballpark; you’re just playing a different game. More power to you if you like that game, but it just ain’t creativity. It is pleasure, which is great, and if it makes you happy, kudos. And there’s nothing wrong with beautiful stuff, but that’s a different matter altogether…

So, that’s it. Creativity. There is no trick to it, no innate skill or best practices. It is born of being okay with bollocksing everything up, repeatedly, and not worrying about having to clean up after yourself. It’s a lot like trying to feed a baby…

Damn, babies are disgusting.


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3 Responses to Creativity…

  1. 1
    Kathryn says:

    Thank you for a beautiful simple truth! Now if I can just break through all the years of hearing “if it’s not perfect you didn’t do your best” I might finally find the freedom to be creative.

  2. 2
    Daryl says:

    Well said. Couldn’t make it any simpler.

  3. 3
    Maggie Magee says:

    Nothing is perfect.

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