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Word of the Month: Creativity    

Word of the Month: Creativity

Art by FISK

By Hallie Belle Sheinbaum

On the surface, it can be easy to think that creativity is a skill that belongs exclusively to musicians, artists, writers, and designers, the kinds of people who make a living in the so-called “creative” fields. The reality is all humans are innately creative, regardless of whether they type words in a novel or strum chords on a guitar. Our lives require daily acts of creativity, whether it’s solving a problem at work, figuring out what to cook for dinner, or writing a text to a friend.

This month, The Local Optimist is celebrating creativity in its many different forms, from speaking with leading Black photographers and artists to learning how to find one’s flow state. We do so because, while we may not always realize it, creativity is a vital part of our everyday lives. It allows us to live originally and can help expand our perceptions. And like anything, the more we practice it, the more we improve and the more benefits we enjoy.

What Is Creativity?

When we are talking about creativity, we are referring to the act of turning new ideas into reality. That may involve a brushstroke on a canvas or it may be finding a more efficient way to produce widgets. If it’s new (even if it’s only new to you) then it’s likely creative.

It’s important to notice that we’re talking about more than just coming up with an idea. The idea is just the beginning. And while it may seem like the hard part, in many ways, it’s the opposite. Turning that idea into an actual thing is where the really tricky challenges lie, but it’s also where you’ll develop an appreciation for what it takes to accomplish a goal.

How Do I “Get Creative”?

You may have heard the phrase, “You make your own luck.” Well, that adage can also hold true when you replace “luck” with “creativity.” There is a myth that inspiration strikes out of nowhere. The reality is that while ideas can just pop into your head, there were preparations that took place beforehand, both consciously and subconsciously, that set the stage for that idea to arrive. 

  • Put In The Work
    Whatever field you want to be more creative in, you will have to put the time in. Practice is key, and so is developing comfort with the fact that the results may not turn out the way you pictured. Sometimes through repetition your output may be aligned with your original vision. Sometimes the first version that you thought stunk can lead to a new realization that’s more successful. Either way, the practice was worthwhile.
  • Write It Down
    Documenting the creative journey is also important. When those ideas do come, write them down instead of keeping them in your head. As you practice, keep track of your efforts. Because when you hit a wall, you may find something in one of your early attempts that helps you get unstuck.
  • Expand Your Horizons
    Too often, we self-impose restrictions on our creativity that aren’t really there. The fewer boundaries we impose on our imaginations, the more creative we will be. Sure, there may be real-world facts that need to be addressed, but there’s plenty of time for that. In the early stages, allow yourself to be as free as possible. It will make things a lot more fun, too, which can result in a positive feedback loop.

We’ll get into a lot more as the month goes on. And we want to hear from you, too. How do you channel your creativity? Let us know in the comments below or send us a message.

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.