What IS Creativity, Anyway?

I’ve written a lot of articles on this little blog about creativity and creative pursuits. But I got to thinking one day, as I was writing, working on websites, humming my own music, and otherwise engaged in the process of creativity; I wondered, “I know I create all the time–I’ve done it since I was a kid. But WHY? What IS creativity, anyway?”

Creativity is one of the slipperiest words I’ve ever tried to define. I have such an intrinsic knowledge of it–creativity is, quite simply, in everything I do. But describing exactly what that impulse is and why I choose to pursue it is VERY difficult. Nevertheless, here are the definitions and descriptions I have come up with:

Creativity: The Desire to Make Something that’s Needed

One part of my creativity stems from seeing a need for something out in the world, and wanting to apply my talents to that need. I started making super-informative fansites back in the early 2000s because I had seen a string of cookie-cutter “fan” sites whose content was all copied and pasted from each other; I felt that our fan communities needed something better, something more in-depth, and so I took it upon myself to create the kind of site I was looking for.

My writing also falls into that category–when I write something, it’s partially because I have not seen a piece of writing like it before. I write stories and poems in part because the tales and emotions contained within me filter through my experiences and my mindset, creating something unique and yet still relatable (well, most of the time, LOL).

Creativity: The Urge to Nurture Something into Being

Another part of creativity is the almost-primal urge to just MAKE something, something that’s just yours, born of your mind. In that way, it seems like procreation; you’re affirming that your brain cells, your mind, your SOUL is alive with every word you write, every brushstroke you paint, every note you strike. I experience this with every art form I work with, from singing in choirs to writing my novel and my music, from creating websites to even making my own crafts. Everything I make has my own stamp on it; every idea in my head needs effort from me to come out, and that effort is joyful because it has MEANING and I can actually focus on it. Creativity literally gives meaning to things that might not have much meaning otherwise.

Creativity: The Need to Show Others Your Original Self

Lastly, I believe creativity is about self-expression–not just expression of the self’s effort or expression of the self’s needs, but about explaining what kind of person I am. Much of my music flows from this idea; each melody and each lyric is strained and purified through my perceptions, and when I play my original songs I am literally baring a piece of my internal world, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Especially these days when so much is negative in our world, a good-sized dollop of creativity seems like a needed taste of hope–it’s a way of saying “Hey, I’m over here–I’m a person too, with loves and needs and dreams.” (Sometimes, especially early on, I used my creativity to ask whether I was a good enough person or not; now, I use my creativity to show how I’m good enough. It works both ways.)

Are There Other Explanations of Creativity? You Tell Me!

These are my own personal definitions of creativity, but I’m just one creative person speaking from one mindset–what are your definitions? Tell me in the comments!

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