How can people develop their creativity? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Janet Fitch, Author of White Oleander and The Revolution of Marina M., writing instructor, on Quora:

To develop creativity is to find the place of curiosity in yourself again, the curiosity you had a child, that sense of play and wonder. Creativity doesn't mean just to paint a painting or compose music or write a story. Creativity is a way of living in the world, open to new ideas, actively seeking out a new experiences, of finding something that excites you, rather than looking for comfort, which is usually about fear, about protecting yourself from pain by repeating things that worked in the past.

Creativity is about play. It requires you to take what you're doing somewhat less seriously in one respect, but with the absolute absorption and belief of a child playing.

One thing that for me always freshens my vision is to go for a walk in search of the Miraculous. This was a surrealist's game, to 'defamiliarize' the world--make it new again. When you're on the lookout for the Miraculous, you're open to whatever interesting object or happening comes your way. Something you would normally have walked right past is suddenly an object of wonder, of magic, the universe speaking directly to you. You can't plan for it, you have to surrender to the action.

Creativity's like that, a surrender to openness and the weird and haphazard. You give it your time, you make space for it, and then you set up a game or a some sort of random prompt--in writing I sometimes use a word, or an object, and allow things to arise form the unconscious. You can't plan creativity but you can prepare for it by exposing yourself to a wide range of experiences, especially to other people's creativity.

Take things that are unrelated and trying to see how they go together. Dance a dream. Describe a painting in words. There's a wonderful book I recommend, Stephen Nachmanovitch's Free Play, about improvisation, that always makes me want to create something. Patti Smith's Just Kids is a portrait of the spontaneous joy of creative life. The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, an artist, captures the inner state which then produces the outer work.

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Published on: Nov 7, 2017