What It Means to Be Creative

Creativity. Do you have it? What makes you so sure that you are, in fact, a creative person? Alternatively, a better question would be: what makes you so confident that you aren’t creative? What makes you think that the best-selling author is creative? What is it that would make you believe that you lack their creative mind? Success or failure determining your level of creativity? For those who have never written anything in their life or never drawn, painted or composed anything before, how do you know they lack creativity when you observe them?  


How does someone become creative? What even is it? Creativity, by its definition, is to use one’s imagination to create something new and original. It is the ability to think in a way divergent from those in society and to imagine/ produce something unique and valuable. This is what it is on a fundamental level, but on a philosophical level, I believe it is something more significant. If you were to ask someone, anyone, be that artisan or not, what it means to be creative, you’ll likely get a different response. These answers will be interpersonal and inextricably linked to the individual. For myself, to be creative is to not only create something original but to create this “something” from the self. It is to tap into the vibrancy and uniqueness of your human experience and share your thoughts, emotions and stories. Doing this is, I believe, the core of the creative process. No one else can have felt the exact same way as you or lived the same experiences. To share these experiences will inevitably lead to creative work. 


Most people probably have some idea of what it means to be creative or to be a “creative person”. Or at least, they may think they do. For some, they may attribute a creative mind to an unbridled talent to create something original. Others may consider commercial success as the determining factor as to whether the creator of a piece of media was, indeed, a creative person. I think in both cases, these people are missing out on what it means to truly be creative. 


Everyone can come to the consensus that the most well-renowned authors are creative. When we observe the works of the latest best-selling author, there’s no doubt that they’re creative individuals. But their success is not what made them creative, nor was their creativity what made them successful. They were creative because they tapped into that “something”, the thing that makes people want to create art, to begin with. 


Creativity is something that many people seem to think writers and artists either have or don’t have. It’s something that they bestow upon them, predominantly based on how successful they are with their creative works. When someone IS described as being “creative”, they naturally feel this pressure to continually produce successful work and reach unfathomable heights. And when someone is told they are not creative, they will feel so demotivated to put their work out again, they’ll end up completing a self-fulfilling prophecy. 


Are people naturally predisposed to be creative from the moment of birth? Or is it something that can be developed and trained over time? I’m inclined to think the latter. Creativity is not something inherent or predetermined, it is something that is developed through tapping into your creative mind. Creativity is not something that exists within a chosen few, it is something that is carefully nurtured through trial and error. The creative mind of an individual is something that is gradually evolving throughout their lives, as they gain new experiences and realise new thoughts. Their philosophies and ideologies will inevitably develop as they engage with the world and begin to immerse themselves in the ideas they wish to convey with their art. As the writer and artist refine their work, they end up changing themselves, and by doing so, their creative process changes with them. Creativity comes from a person’s ability to take risks and overcome their failures, and realise them as a natural part of the process of refining their creative works. To truly be creative, though, they have to be true to the uniqueness that makes them creative, and work with their ideas with uncertainty and potential misfalls. If the writer or artist does not do this, can their work ever be creative? Can it ever be that definition: unique and original? 


In essence, to be creative is to be yourself. It is to show your true self and convey all that you perceive in the world. It does not matter if you have written a book that has sold a million copies or have written an unpublished work read only by a handful of people. You are still creative merely for delving into your creative mind and crafting something meaningful. That is what it means to be creative. 

by Matt Bradbury