Defining Creativity is Harder Than You Think

Upcoming cover for Alex Villavasso's The Last Light 2.
© Michelle Lockamy
An interesting question arose in my noggin yesterday.

What does it mean to be creative, and who is the term referring to?

I am of the opinion that everyone, every human being, has the ability to be creative. Take it from me, with a mother who believes that creativity is limited to just the things I create, and not the ideas that she comes up with to make our lives easier. Her solutions to problems are equally as creative as my solutions to paintings, right?

This opinion leads me to believe that the only reason the word "creative" exists in our vocabulary, is because there is a large group of people in our society that are not of this opinion or, at least, they do not have the time to develop within themselves whatever this word implies.

So what does it imply?

Strictly speaking, the word creativity means: "... a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created (such as an idea, a joke, an artistic or literary work, a painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc.)," according to the lovely Wikipedia. I would agree that this definition is most accurate in the eyes of your average human. Companies today would opt to lean towards the solution and invention bit, where any new idea is considered creative, and one who comes up with these ideas on a regular basis is a "creative type."

But it is more than any of that. It is a lifestyle. It is a choice. It is the foundation for a healthy career. To be creative means you are a human being, and vice versa.

Take the Navajo culture's concept of creativity, for example. In their creation legend, all human beings descend from a being named Changing Woman, and as her descendants, human beings are naturally beautiful and have a duty to create beauty from the chaos around them. This is why every member of the Navajo culture makes a sandpainting, weaves a basket, etc. In other words, to be human is to be creative.

In the Balinese culture, everyone creates offerings for the monthly temple festival, and these are so lovely and so numerous, you wonder why they end up on the street to be run over by bicycles. Again, there is this concept that everyone is creative.  

Now, how do you justify someone making a living out of this concept, while others struggle? Or how some want a creative job while others don't desire it? Simple, folks. To be creative means you also need to be hardworking and resourceful. Otherwise, this potential is flushed down an unforgiving toilet that we call the economy.

Work, work, work. Make it happen. Just do it. Run. Fly.

While everyone has the potential to be creative, only those that want it badly enough will achieve it. The good news is that doing the work is more than half the battle. The rest is what everyone keeps telling you, over and over again, even though it is so mysterious: Get it in front of people - and not just any people, but the right people. 

I would like to cover this topic later on down the road from my perspective as a student, but for now, I leave you with some of my newest freelance work.

Any feedback on this topic or on my work? Leave a comment!