Have you noticed how much of the writing and conversation about creativity is focused on coming up with ways to get MORE CREATIVE? How many books out there are promising to "spark" us, or "unleash" us, or otherwise tell us how to open the floodgates of our creative selves? I hate to say it, but I'm getting sick of those books. The idea of creativity as an internal faucet that we close or open, or a dial that we should all be trying to crank up to 11 strikes me as wrongly mechanical and, at the end of the day, unhelpful.
When I talk with creative people, the question "how do I get more creative?" never comes up. It is a false question, which a certain kind of creativity guru loves to ask because it is so darn fun to answer. The answers sound so great - "get more sleep" "expose yourself to new ideas" "work in the morning" OK, nice tips.
What the people I coach really want to know sounds more like - "I know my life purpose is tied to my creativity, but my creativity leads me in a bunch of different directions...how do I make decisions and choices about what to do next? can you help me find some focus? What should I do for money? For love? In the morning? On the weekends?"
These questions - the real questions - are not resolved through tips on "getting more creative." The answers can only come through a deeper level of self knowledge, a more robust understanding of your own creative self, a clearer picture of the kind of creator you are. We will never find these kinds of answers if we're riding the "How creative am I?" anxiety train. But I have a hunch that the "How am I creative?" train might be heading in the direction of some truly useful answers.
Wouldn't it be useful to have a map of the different ways in which creativity shows up most powerfully in our lives, and a willingness to explore the full, complicated terrain of our creative selves as we seek direction and creative satisfaction? That's the project behind my book-in-progress currently titled Finding Your Creative Constellation: Discover your your signature creating patterns and design a life big enough for who you really are.
Turns out writing a book is a long, slow, introverted process - which I'm cool with, plus or minus the loneliness, self-doubt, and slight discipline problems - so I thought this would be a good time to start sharing some glimpses of the big ideas I'm chewing on in this work. There will be more to come in the weeks ahead. I'd love to know how they grab you! Leave a comment or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, back to the writing desk! Wish me well,