Getting Creative: Why & How

The blog is now a month old.  When I started, I was unsure of exactly how it would evolve.  I am still unsure.  But that’s fine.  I’m happy to remain open for now, while it finds its form.

I began only with knowing that I wanted a place to collect all my various thoughts about the various dimensions of inspiration, together with a passionate sense that the techniques and approaches we bring to creating a book or a work of art are also key to creating a more balanced, authentic and joyful life.

Many people urgently need to reclaim the creativity that has been squeezed out of them by school, jobs, family, personal habits and social mores. That doesn’t mean that everybody should go off drawing pictures or writing songs (though would that be so bad?).  It is more about developing creative approaches, attitudes and strategies for life.

And about balance. Balancing our focussed, productive, “doing” energies – the kind of energy driven by our egos and encouraged and rewarded by our society – with more diffuse, inspired, “being” energies that often lie dormant within us.

Many people are so constrained or damaged in this arena that they don’t even know how to begin.

When I give talks on this topic, there are always people in the audience who say “But I’m not creative”. They are wrong (I don’t tell them this; but instead give them an exercise that proves it).  

Every single human being is born with a creative drive within, the drive to make.  To make things, words, relationships, stories, pictures, medicine…

This drive has been as critical to human survival and evolution as our drive to eat or have sex. It’s that fundamental.

The creative urge is also evident in our need, in the old phrase, to “make something of ourselves” – to become better, more effective, human beings as we progress through life.

Recent neurological brain research has shown how the analytical and creative sides of the human brain are designed to work together.  When we equally use the right (creative) side of our brain along with the left (rational, analytical) side, each multiplies a thousand-fold the efficiency of the other.

When we neglect creative activity, when we are too rigid or busy or controlling, we dilute all our intelligences — emotional, spiritual and intellectual.

It’s the only part of the body where we do this. Think of trying to walk using only 50 percent of your capacity – with your right foot tied up. You wouldn’t get far. It’s the same with your brain: when you use only one side, you are grossly disadvantaged. Using both sides, your potential increases exponentially.

This is a message that educators are struggling to absorb. School and the way it is structured – timetables, examinations, obedience – privileges left-brain activity from middle-school on.

As children in kindergarten, we use more than 95% of our creative faculties, in junior school that drops to between 50% and 70%. By the time we are mature adults, a focus on left-brain activity has whittled us down to using less than 20% of our creative, right-brain capacity (and in many cases, much much less than that).

The good news is that our creative potential doesn’t go away, even when it hasn’t been used. It’s like an underground steam, always there, ready to be tapped.

According to inspired creativity tutor, Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, The HOW of creativity, is Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingness:
“Honestly, what would you most like to create in your life?
Open-minded, what oddball paths would you dare to try?
Willing, what appearances would you shed to pursue your dream?”

Finding and living the answers to these questions is what this blog is about.

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