Thoughts on Creativity

By Linda Bennett Pennell

In another life, I have reason to be very interested in theories pertaining to and research in the areas of learning and cognition. Understanding how the human brain works, how we think what we think, how we know what we know is a fascinating subject that deserves as many research dollars as can be mustered. Unlocking those mysteries will have untold benefits for all mankind. Until recently, however, how we create was not something upon which I focused. I was more concerned with how we got something into our brains, rather than how something emerged. Now I’m all about getting the written word out and the faster, the better.512px-Brain_Lateralization.svg

While living with the creative process, I’ve noticed a couple of things, neither of which is backed up by scientific research. These are purely anecdotal comments on a personal journey.

Becoming an author of commercial fiction is very freeing. The strictures of standard grammar and usage, at least to some extent, simply don’t matter as much. What was once verboten in the world of formal writing is now acceptable, even encouraged. Here’s an example of what I mean. Which sentence would you rather read in a novel? 1) Ian slid his hand along the wall. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. Or, 2) Ian slid his hand along the wall. He was uncertain for what he searched. Yes, I thought you might feel that way. So, how does this relate to creativity? By focusing on how a point of view character would actually think and speak in real life, the author is allowed to break free and create a character to whom readers can relate. It is important to know the rules, but it is equally important to know when to break them. And breaking rules can be so darned freeing.

Creativity is a form of freedom and the most important thing I have learned on this journey is that creativity is almost a living entity. It is like a shy child. It needs to be cherished and nurtured. It must be encouraged to come out and play. Creativity wilts in the face of an onslaught of negativity, whether from an outside source or from self-talk.

Parting words? Be kind to yourself. It will nurture your creativity!

So what have you discovered about creativity in yourself or others? Any thoughts or wisdom to share?