Have you seen the reality shows? The ones in which ‘creative’ people compete against each other to see who is best, winner take all, loser told they have a promising future and almost as an insult, don’t give up? Do you watch the sideshow and wait for the comments of the judges? And do you see how creatives accept this pitting against each other in pursuit of a dream instead of banding together for a bigger one? We fight for the scraps instead of our rights to sit at the table for the meal.
Creativity right now is relegated to mere entertainment, boxed into the arts, allowed to come out and play but never taken seriously. Even when you brainstorm, what are you told? When you have an idea, that’s when the creativity isn’t needed, rein in that divergent thinking and converge your thoughts. After creativity has started the work, it’s time for it to step aside for the real thinking, for the logical mind. Now it’s time to get down to business and get the idea tested, fixed and finally ready to share–creativity is often hustled off the stage and into the waiting room.
There are those schools out there who would rather not teach creativity for there are other, more important things. There are articles I’ve read that creativity should be tested like IQ, graded no doubt with multiple choice questions and a tired nine dot grid. There are apps to do creative thinking for us coming soon.
What is the point to a rant unless there is a solution offered?
Creativity shouldn’t be in the shadow of the critical anymore. It is not lesser, lighter thinking and it deserves its due. It is no ugly stepsister, but an equal, worth not being taken for granted or humored like a child.
I am asking you to daydream, brainstorm and come up with the off the wall idea. But when you do, don’t do what you are told, don’t put the creativity back in the box. Extend out–what would happen if you kept going with creative thinking and brainstormed a brainstormed idea further? What if you tried to make the off the wall idea work instead of the critical thinking of scaling/backing down to make it more doable? As a TED talk said, THINK BIG. Why NOT?
I will walk the talk too and am. November is the online National Novel in a Month contest (write 50k words). I took the topic what if kids could design their own lives and am writing a book. 12K words as of this morning (day 6) but I am going to try 5k today. I’ve been using an interesting technique which works. I am using critical thinking tools to brainstorm; the things you are supposed to use second, I am using first to inspire and to fuel creative thinking. Critical thinking does make you more creative and after my 50K, I hope to have another book to write on how.
Creatives have their place in the world, they don’t have to beg or demand attention, they have to stop acting like second class citizens. It’s time to fight back, but not in the expected way. Be more creative without apology OR explanation. Let logical thinkers reason out what you are doing and why–remember critical thinking does make you more creative and so, here’s the best part, they will be too :). The secret is to no longer let the dream be laughed at, but to laugh at ourselves for not dreaming MORE.