For the longest time I thought about the word creative as an adjective, as in, “she’s so creative.” Creative described people who liked to think a lot, look at different perspectives, come up with innovative ideas. Creative people see things a bit different from everyone else and are fun to be around. Off the wall ideas are more likely to be described as creative.
Creative was an adjective that described the person or the idea. And it was totally subjective.
But lately I have been struck that this is not really the nature of creativity. Don’t get me wrong; novel ideas are definitely important for the creative process. But I had the wrong part of speech when I thought of creative as an adjective.
Creative doesn't describe the person or the idea, it describes what they do. (don't get all grammatical on me)
A creative person creates things. Painters, writers, musicians, filmmakers, designers, architects, developers, marketers, are easy to imagine, but creative can exist in every job, or not. Or completely outside their job. The measure of creativity is the creation of something new, not the imagining of it.
The thinking, the imagining is just a means to an end.
I work for a creative marketing agency, and the other day I was in our storeroom and found myself looking around at all the artifacts on the shelves. The company started as a video production shop and there are literally hundreds maybe thousands of tapes of various formats that are a window into the history of the organization. I walked around and read the names off one tape after another and tried to imagine the story behind each. Some of these tapes go back 21 years.
As I read the various titles and dates I had a profound sense of what it means to be creative.
To commit yourself to create something that didn’t exist before. To actually make it happen. And then to put it on the shelf, to move on and create something else.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Forever.
Creative doesn't describe what a person is, it describes what a person does.
So I ask all of you reading this who consider yourselves creative.
Are you happy with what are you creating? What's on your shelf?