Readers will know that I’m a sucker for this type of post.
As it turns out, John Spencer is writing a book on creativity and is the source for these things.
I’d like to think I’m creative. I write a post here regularly and try not to get into a rut. In my mind, I think I’ve got to be creative to do that and make things interesting enough that people visit the blog more than once.
Here’s his list and how I think I stack up.
- make mistakes. Loads of them. Their work sucks at the beginning, just like yours and just like mine.
I’m the king of mistakes – in many ways! I have folks regularly tell me about the mistakes in my writing and offer suggestions. I like writing software and it’s just the nature of the beast that you try and fail many times before it’s perfect. I like to test various software titles and I think I’ve got a certain mentality from teaching computer science and evaluating things from my days on the OSAPAC committee. It just seems natural to try and break things. It’s called making mistakes on purpose!
- poop. I like to remember that everybody poops because it’s sort-of a disarming fact. The greatest creative geniuses are still absolutely normal. They eat and drink. They stub their toes and yell out expletives. They fall in love.
I’ve nailed this one. You don’t want details.
- They get scared that no one will like their stuff. But still . . .
I’ve written countless blog posts, conducted hundreds of different workshops, written software, and so many other things. With each activity, there’s that moment when you have to say “it’s time to let go” and then it gets passed along. There’s always that little voice in the back of your mind that questions whether you’re going to be accepted, approved, and liked or not. I can’t think of any time when I was 100% sure that anything was perfect. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Neither do software authors. Can you name a title that is version 1.0?
- They make stuff.
Now we’re talking about what my initial thought about creativity would be. I do like to make stuff. It’s here that I have the most uncertainty as well. It’s one thing to “make stuff” and another to “make new stuff”. I still remember an incident in high school where I’d written what I thought was a great vampire story. I was certain that I was in for a very high mark. Instead, I was accused of plagiarism. It was so weird but I guess we bring out past experiences with us. I thought it was creative and original but perhaps I had been overly influenced by someone else? Is it OK to “make stuff” or should we strive to “make new stuff”? Or is it normal to make stuff on the road to making new stuff?
That was fun, and interesting. I’m not sure that I’m any closer to having the answer about me being creative or not.
One thing that I can agree with is the logic in the flowchart in the original article. You never know when you’re going to hit the mark but you’re guaranteed NOT to hit it if you’re not trying.
Getting philosophical here – can you identify yourself as creative? Or is it a label that someone else puts on you from their observation?