Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Clear the Deck: What Creativity is Not

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"Clear the decks (idiom): a.) to prepare for combat, as by removing all unnecessary gear;  b.) to prepare for some activity or work, as by getting rid of hindrances."--dictionary. com

Last time we talked about creativity, and what it is. I thought it'd be interesting to discuss what creativity is NOT. Creativity is not:

1. Fear of failure. "An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail." --Edwin Land

2. Fear of being wrong. "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." --Joseph Chilton Pierce

3. Self-consciousness. "Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things." --Ray Bradbury

4. Negativity. "Negativity is the enemy of creativity." --David Lynch

5. Self-imposed limitations. "People put limitations on their creativity, believing they have to rely on what they know and what they have done." --Bertrand Piccard

6. Status quo. "Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." --Mary Lou Cook

7. Routine. "Routine kills creative thought." --Scarlett Thomas

8. Lack of curiosity. "The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things--ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later, or six months, or six years. But he has faith that it will happen." --Carl Ally

I'm sure there are many other things that creativity is not, but for starters, let's clear the deck of fear, self-consciousness, negativity, limitations, lack of curiosity. There's too much to enjoy in writing to be bogged down with those kinds of hindrances!

What on the cluttered deck of your writing holds you back?


  1. What holds me back the absolute most, and is something I pray about (Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief) is my cynicism. My personality is not that of the bubbly, eternal optimist, but rather of the one who feels she will never be "among the chosen." Gotta kick that attitude to the curb.

  2. Cathy, it is hard not to be cynical when the work is hard and the prospects seem so far out there. For me, I question whether or not I'm making the best use of my time...But there's a reason this thing called writing has such a hold on us, isn't there? So let's concentrate on the creative side of things and see what happens. I think we'll be happier for it. Thanks for sharing!.

  3. Creativity is not getting stuck and STAYING there. Writer's block can be such an easy excuse to do nothing.

    I read a great article on children's play that centers around the idea of "hands on, minds on" - in other words, when hands are busy doing something, the mind gets busy, too.

    I love that idea for writers as well. I'm never madder at myself than when i get up from a writing session and find I've done nothing at all.

  4. Peggy, great *new* definition of creativity--'not getting stuck and staying there.' Focus, stick with it, break through, move forward. Thank you! Excuses and inertia will get us nowhere. Appreciate your thoughts :-)

  5. You are sure creative in finding these definitions! I loved them! I really believe you have to get out of your box to be creative. Trying on all fronts.

  6. Terri--you're right about the need to get "out of the box" to be creative. I'm still learning how to do that :-) Thanks for the input!