"If you can just release yourself from the anxiety and burden that might be associated with the word 'creativity,'" Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love has written, "you'll see, in fact, that you are an enormously creative person."
Which sounds like great advice. But how do you do it?
For many of us, creativity seems to be the province of certain rare people with an inborn gift that cause fresh ideas to mysteriously pop into their heads. This way of thinking makes creativity seem both remote and difficult. If this is your understanding of the concept, no wonder you think you can't apply it to yourself.
If you want to release your own creative potential, you need to redefine the word -- to bring it down to earth. A fun and inspiring recent Copyblogger post can help. In it, Demian Farmworth rounds up a host of less intimidating definitions of the word from all types of creative people, from punk rockers to marketing experts. The list is a healthy reminder that they're are as many ways to be creative as there are creative people and that magic pixie dust and exceptional talent aren't required.
Or, as Gilbert puts it: "If you're alive, you're a creative person." Here are nine example from the long list of definitions to get you inspired:
- "Starting with nothing and ending up with something. Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in."-- punk rocker Henry Rollins
- "Giving the world something it didn't know it was missing."-- author Daniel Pink
- "Just making something. It might be something crummy or awkward or not ready for prime time. If you make something, you are creative."-- Rainmaker Digital CCO Sonia Simone
- "Copying smarter."-- VP of strategy at Overit Lisa Barone
- "This might not work."-- marketer and author Seth Godin
- "Living in possibility and abundance rather than limitation and scarcity."-- author CJ Lyons
- "Creativity (n): a word people use when they want to sound smart talking about a really abstract subject. Me? I prefer to avoid abstractions."-- CEO of Smart Blogger Jon Morrow
- "The strange partnership between a human being's labor and the mystery of inspiration."-- author Elizabeth Gilbert
- "The ability to connect the seemingly unconnected and meld existing knowledge into new insight about some element of how the world works. That's practical creativity. Then there's moral creativity: to apply that skill towards some kind of wisdom on how the world ought to work."-- Brain Pickings blogger Maria Popova
If this list helps get your creative juices flowing, check out the complete post for links to interviews with each creative, as well as a downloadable free poster of all the quotes.
What's your personal definition of creativity?