I never used to think of myself as creative. I was structured, logical and well-organised. I couldn’t draw, paint or do anything else that I would call vaguely artistic.
Then, in a video interview in early 2019 the interview called me a content creator. This was a label I’d not applied to myself. I had been hosting Learning Uncut podcast for six months at this point, blogging (albeit inconsistently) for almost five years and publishing an occasional video. I saw all of these activities as part of how I learned, so saw myself as a learner rather than a creator. Inspired by the ‘Show Your Work’ movement, putting what I was learning about and working on into the public domain is something I do to help me improve as well as holding myself accountable. If I tell others I am going to do something I’m more likely to do it.
Yesterday I did two things that made me feel creative. I gardened. Simple stuff – mowing the front lawn, cutting up some dead plants, and spreading compost on the herb bed. Essential tidying up as part of a longer term project to effort to beautify the garden. I also assembled an Ikea bookshelf for my office. I’m constantly fine-tuning my work environment to make it both more efficient and a space that I enjoy being in. Are these things truly creative?
A search on ‘what is creativity’ brought me to a post on the Creativity At Work site. It was a little disheartening. The bar was raised by their opening definition:
Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.
Is the idea of a more beautiful garden new and imaginative? It does require thinking and then producing, but not making connections between unrelated phenomena.
Maybe gardening and assembling flat pack furniture are ‘making’ rather than creating, where making is defined as the act or process of forming, causing, doing, or coming into being (Mirriam-Webster dictionary).
Whether I was making or creating something with these two activities yesterday, both left me with a sense of satisfaction. As does writing even a simple Daily Dispatch. As my muse Austin Kleon puts it:
“Every time we make a thing it’s a tiny triumph.”
Post 6 – November Daily Dispatch goal