Thursday, October 4, 2012

Imposing Restrictions on Creativity

I know I've written on numerous occasions about creativity & inspiration, questioning oneself, self-censorship and killing one's Muse, but I want to explore another means of limiting creativity that I haven't previously written about, and that is placing restrictions on the very idea of what it means to be creative and what is perceived of as creativity.

Some people may presume that artists are flighty and emotional because they see artists as creative and they perceive of creativity as wild and untamed, spontaneous and free, used for capturing and conveying innermost feelings, emotions, thoughts and desires.  But not all artists fit this mold, and creativity itself doesn't always do so either.  Though that can be true and both artists & creativity can fall into such patterns, both also exist outside of them.  Creativity is also an integral part of problem solving, ingenuity and invention and can spring forth from logical assessment as well, developing in response to a perceived need, desire to streamline, improve how things work to make them more smooth & seamless and/or out of a strong desire to see how things work & fit together.  This kind of creativity is just as valid and may develop in very different ways than the capturing of raw emotion & spontaneity that comes from expressing & revealing one's inner feelings.  An artist and an engineer are both creative, perhaps in different ways, perhaps in similar ones, and perhaps some of both.

I personally find that I prefer not to question creativity and try not to define it, place restrictions on it, or make presumptions & judgments about what form it takes or where it leads me.  Questioning who is more creative or what it means to be creative just isn't helpful for me and tends to hinder my creativity while I get bogged down in over-analysis.  So I prefer to follow it where it leads: expressing my feelings, solving problems, just being goofy... but that's me.  All of us are different and I realize that some people need more guidance and find that, if they impose restrictions on themselves, they can better hone their creativity to find inspiration in what otherwise seems to them to be a chaotic mire of premature and not fully formed ideas.  So imposing restrictions on creativity and defining it can prove helpful in bringing focus; but I think the key is to be aware of doing so so that the limitation doesn't later cause one to miss out on opportunities to be creative or explore different ideas.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
- Albert Einstein

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