Unleash Your Creative Self

Why is creativity important in everyday life? Simply put, it is because it makes life infinitely interesting and fulfilling. Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality and makes unique connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Creativity is about living life as a journey into seeing and communicating the extra-ordinariness of the simplest everyday acts.

“Everything’s already been thought of.” “I don’t even know where to start.” “I’m just not a creative person.” We’ve all had those frustrating moments when we’re expected to come up with a brilliant new idea, but no matter how much we squint at our computer screens, we just can’t seem to think of anything good. That’s when we look over at our peers who are “creative types” and wonder why we didn’t inherit any of those creative genes ourselves.

Can creativity be learned?

The short answer is yes. A study reveals that we are naturally creative and as we grow up we learn to be uncreative. Creativity is a skill that can be developed and a process that can be managed.

Creativity is actually a skill that can be learned.

People often think of creativity as an ingrained feature. There is some truth to this. Some people are, by nature, more creative. However, there are a variety of ways you can bolster your creative side. Established rituals, like journaling, boost creativity. Working on changing your mindset, opening yourself up to new ways of thinking, can also increase your creativity to a great extent. You can also seek support from others. Networking with likeminded people can help you be more creative yourself.

Creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking. You can learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesing information. Learning to be creative is akin to learning a sport. It requires practice to develop the right muscles, and a supportive environment in which creativity flourishes.

when creativity dies, start copying

Creativity is a skill that you can work on with time, training, and effort. There are many areas you can focus on to improve your overall creativity. Engage in creative exercises like reading, writing, and listening to music to sharpen your creativity. Learn as much as possible and open yourself up to new ideas and experiences. Make lifestyle changes like walking more, exercising regularly, and getting more sleep to give your brain the boost it needs to increase your creative skills.

Overcoming myths about creativity

Beliefs that only special, talented people are creative, diminish our confidence in our creative abilities. The notion that geniuses such as Shakespeare, Picasso and Mozart were `gifted’ is a myth, according to a study at Exeter University.

In creative problem-solving, a mistake is an experience to learn from, which gives out a valuable information about what to try next. People often pack in their efforts because they are afraid of making mistakes. But if you take no chances and make no mistakes, you fail to learn, let alone doing anything unusual or innovative.

So just go out there and embrace failure. Take on the rejections and keep going. Keep practicing. Soon, thou shalt find thy way!

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

why i don’t use uppercase in my blog

it is a marginalized world that we live in today. it was not so always. there were times when england ruled over most of the world, and it had the upper hand. and then america came into power during the two world wars. but now, the focus is shifting further to the countries that we never heard of for centuries. and it is a good sign. what it suggests is that it doesn’t make sense to capitalize certain letters and not capitalize certain others.

people have come to realize that the centre of the world is not england or america. it is us — the people, no matter in which country we live or which language we speak. we are the centre of the universe, every single soul. and that is why i don’t use uppercase in my blog. to me, all the words have equal power; all the alphabets are equally important to me.

freedom is the most important value to me. i think there is no higher purpose or goal than freedom. times have burdened us with rules and regulations, customs and practices. but we should nevertheless strive to be utterly free. any form of restriction is nothing but suffering and we must, in all circumstances, help ourselves and others to come out of suffering. as buddha said:

“when we are mindful, touching deeply the present moment, the fruits are always understanding, acceptance, love, and the desire to relieve suffering and bring joy.”

and so i don’t bound my words with rules. i simply let them flow carefree. here are a few reasons behind my not using uppercase letters:

  1. i’m a lazy ass. yes, that’s true. although i try to fight out this trait of mine but mostly i lose the battle.
  2. most of the time, i am writing through a stream of consciousness. so caring about the form gets less significant than the communication of ideas.
  3. reaching out to the shift key breaks off the flow of words. so i consider it not worthy to let go of my thoughts while i’m out there looking for a damn shift key.
  4. i don’t believe in the perfect state of things. man is an irrational animal and has been so for thousands of years now. so trying to perfectize everything doesn’t always end up a success. hence, i let it be.
  5. this is the most crucial reason. e. e. cummings used capital letters only irregularly in his poetry and i love his style. his name is often styled “e.e. cummings” in the belief that the poet legally changed his name to lowercase letters only. he did not object when publishers began lowercasing his name. being a poet myself, i enjoy writing poetry in lowercase and find it attractive.
  6. talking of attractiveness, the lowercase looks more beautiful to eyes. ever noticed fully capitalized letters? all alphabets of all the words in caps? that look ugly to me. calligraphy is best viewed in its lowercase form, handwritten beautifully flowering the alphabets in design.
  7. beauty is a form of art and artistic beauty lies not in the perfect but in the imperfect and the raw. and so, i believe writing in lowercase justifies this artistic purpose.
  8. the final and the most obvious reason is that it’s my freaking blog. i’m the boss here and the boss like it this way. so, screw it, yeah. that’s how it will be. 😀

what makes a work of art great

an artist longs to create such great work of art that astonishes all and outshines its contemporaries. he dwells upon his craft for long years in order to come up with one such masterpiece that shall immortalize his being in the artistic arena. but he does not always achieve that feat. in fact, only one tenth of the entire artistic clan or even lesser is able to book its name in the historical records of grandeur. the rest fail and are forgotten.

so the question that becomes important here is what is it that makes a piece of art great. what work shall stand the test of time and shall be acclaimed as great work for generations in future. is there a formula to such grand success or one has to make his way through subjective experiments?

scholars have believed that in order create great work in the present, the artist must study the past, because without a resounding knowledge of the history, any creation would lack investigatory strength. it would be as if it stands on its own and its existence shall be a transient one. if, however, one has studied thoroughly the traditional patterns of his craft, one shall be in a better position to create great work.

m.m. bakhtin, the great russian philosopher and literary critic, says: “a work cannot live in future centuries without having somehow observed past centuries as well. if it had belonged entirely to today, (that is, were a product only of its own time) and not a continuation of the past or essentially related to the past, it could not live in the future. everything that belongs only to the present dies along with the present. … in the process of their posthumous life, they are enriched with new meanings, new significance: it is as though these works outgrow what they were in the epoch of their creation.”

what a beautiful idea that is! and how true! in order to be remembered in the future, one must work hard upon the past practices that have sustained through the present. t.s. eliot had similar views when in his essay — tradition and individual talent — he says: “no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. his significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. you cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead.”

perhaps, that is the reason why great artists like quentin tarantino never forget to mention the classics when they come to talk about their own films. they are always inspired by the great work already done by the erstwhile filmmakers. if you watch “the hateful eight”, you’ll find that tarantino has tried to create a similar film as has already been made before, in terms of the impact it has on the audience. he says that the 1982 classic movie “the thing” is very similar to “the hateful eight” as it creates similar atmosphere for the audience.

so, you see, great work is not a creation of the artist’s mind alone. rather, it is an observance of what has already been achieved in the past and what has lingered on in the mind of the artist for long years that finally gets released into a new form of art. tarantino certainly works this way and is one of the best directors we have today. his films shall continue to be loved by millions in the future because he has picked his inspiration from great works that have stood the test of time. the same is true for shakespeare too. and that’s what makes a work of art great.

Save

when creativity dies, start copying

there comes a point in every artist’s life when constipation takes charge, a creative constipation. words cease to flow. music denies composition. things fall apart.

how to cope up with such a dreadful situation? well, it’s quite easy. it’s called the art of copying. your creativity does not completely vanish from the scene here. it simply starts working on a sub-level. you now have to be creative in stealing.

for example, watch this video where the storytellers describe how you can make a tarantino film by creatively stealing from the vast world of already existing cinema:

didn’t i tell ya? it’s so freaking easy. go move thy ass now, and get hyperactive at stealing stuff in an artistic way.

here are a few excerpts on creativity from theartofcharm.com:

“Stop worrying so much about where your inspiration is coming from and just create.”

“People think that authors are writing exactly what they know, but I think a lot of times, authors are writing what they’re trying to figure out.” -Austin Kleon

The biggest hurdle to creativity is when people think they have to be original. If you accept that nothing is completely original and all creative work builds on what came before, it frees you up to start embracing influence instead of running away from it.

The reality is, after thousands upon thousands of years of human history, the likelihood of truly creating something entirely new out of the space between thin air and genius is slim. We’re influenced by what’s come before, and we independently arrive at conclusions that have almost certainly crossed the minds of at least a few among the billions of others who have walked the planet.

The biggest problem faced by people who aspire to create is when our culture’s emphasis on originality paralyzes them before they can even begin. These people may even take drastic measures to avoid being influenced by existing work in an effort to create something purely from themselves. But few — if any — masterpieces arrive from the ether.

“You’ve got someone like [Quentin] Tarantino, who’s one of our greatest filmmakers, and pretty much all of his movies are just…each scene is like an homage to another movie, but then it makes this whole that’s just Tarantino, right?”

Most of your favorite artists are shameless thieves, and will freely admit it. In other words, they don’t get bogged down by the fear of not creating something entirely from themselves — they observe what’s come before, learn from these influences, and adapt the work to suit their needs.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you want to design a car. But where do you draw the line when it comes to being influenced by something that someone else has done and avoid ripping it off to the point of plagiarism?

“When it comes to making your own work, I really think it’s all about the transformation,” says Austin. “It’s all about…are you taking other people’s ideas and are you doing something new with them? Are you rearranging them in some way that adds value to them — that adds value in the wider culture?”

“So if you’re scraping someone’s article and reposting it on your blog without credit, that’s crappy stealing. But if you’re taking their article that they wrote and you’re adding your own two cents and then you’re adding a half dozen other voices that you’ve cobbled together into a new piece, then that is something new.”