Sunday, 9 December 2012

5 Things For And Against Creativity

The connotation of creativity is some goggle-eyed artist creating worlds with the tickling tips of his fingers — “Unicorns! Happy trees! Doodlebugs and space freighters!” — but that’s not what creativity is about at its core. Creativity is about problem solving. The monkey wants the ants in the hill and doesn’t know how to get them, so he breaks off a nearby stick and jams it in the anthill. Ten seconds later: delicious insect popsicle. Problems are an excellent motivator. Creativity needn’t trigger out of nowhere; it often activates when one is presented with a problem that needs an unexpected solution. Fiction requires this in spades: the author must solve problems he has created within the storyworld. Mmm. Delicious metanarrative conflictsicle.

5 Things that come to my mind, when i hear Creative

1)The Frankeinstein Monster Effect: The true power of creativity is gathering unlike things and glomming them together so that they function as one. For a storyteller, individual components needn’t be particularly original. The art is in the arrangement.

2)My bookshelves — comprising two full walls of my office — feature about 75% non-fiction, 25% fiction. Fiction does not generally inspire functional creativity. Reading fiction helps you to write fiction, yes, but over time you may find more creative value in gently shuffling your reading habits toward absorbing more non-fiction. Read broadly, widely, weirdly. Reading lots of non-fiction will expose you to a wide variety of those aforementioned “unlike things” and you’ll find this inspires more compelling arrangements than reading only fiction. A diet of fiction is regurgitory: it’s a Two Girls, One Cup version of the creative process. “I’ll poop in your mouth. Now you poop in my mouth.” Read a book about insects. Then read an article about the Hadron Collider. Then read about Shanghai in the 1930s. Your mind will find weird, glorious ways to cram these gears together in order to form a new machine.

3)Motes of Dust to Mammoth Star Clusters : Creativity lives on the page at all levels, micro to macro. From word choice to worldbuilding, from sentence construction to story arcs. But the creative process must still be subject to organization. Creativity is not raw, unrefined whimsy. You don’t just fountain golden streams of infinite possibility from all your gurgling orifices. It has to work together. Shit has to make sense. But even then creativity lives in the margins and gaps: when something doesn’t make sense, creative problem solving will help Make It So.

4)Tickling your Temporal lobes : You can stimulate creativity. No, I don’t know how you do it. It’s as personal as What Makes You Laugh or What Gets You Off. Is it listening to music? Reading poetry? Going to a bar and drinking with your buddies and talking about whatever barmy goofy fucking shit comes into your fool heads? Do you draw mind-maps or outlines or write dream journals or light up your perineum with a quick blast from a stun-gun (BZZT)? Only way to know is to try anything and everything. Now take off your pants. (BZZT.)

5) The Zero Mind : Some rare flowers bloom at night, and sometimes creativity blooms in a vacuum of stimulation rather than as a result of it. If we assume that creativity is a muscle (it’s not, shut up, just pretend), then tensing it all the time is not productive. Sometimes it must relax. Sometimes it must be allowed to rest. Mow the lawn. Take a shower. Go for a walk. Get a massage. You can even set your brain like a slow-cooker before you go to sleep. In the morning? HARVEST ALL THE DELICIOUS IDEA CHILI. *nom nom nom*

5 Things that are not anywhere Near Creative- A Perspective

1)The "Expert Syndrome." This is a big problem in the advertising and marketing field, where egos often balloon to the size of small planets. I suppose it takes a healthy ego to succeed in this business, but if you think you know everything there is to know, you're blustering more than thinking. And you'll inevitably make mistakes and miss opportunities. In direct marketing, this could be called the "Guru Syndrome," since we too often think that there is an inner circle of initiates who hold the dark, hidden secrets of success.

2)The "Novice Trap." This may be almost as bad as the Expert Syndrome. You don't know the basics. You don't have experience. Or you think you're too smart to spend time learning the basic formulas and rules of thumb. Needless to say, novices are quickly humbled in direct marketing. Of course, you can easily hide your ignorance. All you have to do is carry out sloppy tests and fudge the results. But this only works long-term if your business does not rely on direct marketing channels for most of its income. Many Fortune 500 companies are notorious for their novice approach to direct marketing while their sales charts soar with dollars from a direct sales force, retail sales, and other revenue streams. 

3)The "One Right Answer Disease." As a student in school, your teachers probably said they wanted you to think for yourself. However, come test time, you knew you'd better memorize the facts and give the "right" answers or your grade would suffer. This simplistic right and wrong orientation pervades our society and it's the very antithesis of creative thinking. Except for simple problems like 2 + 2 = 4, there's seldom just one right answer for anything. And in advertising, where just about everything is based on psychology, there's never just one right answer.

4)Trying to create and evaluate simultaneously. You can't drive a car in first and in reverse at the same time. Likewise, you shouldn't try to use different types of thinking simultaneously. Creating is generating new ideas, visualizing, looking ahead, considering the possibilities. Evaluation is analysis and judgment, which is picking apart ideas and sorting them out into piles of good and bad, useful and useless. Most people evaluate too soon and too often, and therefore create less.

5) Mistaking hunting for creating. There are two forms of creative imagination: Hunting and Changing. Hunting is finding something that already exists and applying it to your problem. Changing is modifying something you already have and transforming it into something new. Both are useful, but they are not the same. In direct marketing, hunting usually takes the form of what has been called "stealing smart," or copying the success of others to assure your own success. This is a safe approach, but very limiting. By sticking to what others do, you are forever trapped by the past. You will never have the chance to break out, stand on your own two feet, and make your business all that it can be.

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