The Myths About Creativity – And The Consequences

The Myths About Creativity – And The Consequences

Have you ever heard…

That creative people are weird?

That creativity is best created in a group?

That creative people are sloppy, messy and disorganized?

That creative people are always coming up with cool, but ultimately silly ideas?

That only “creative” people can have creative ideas?

Yeah… me too.

What a load of crappola on a piece of small, polished wood.

Creative People are Weird?

Creative people are no more weird than anyone else. They are not all prone to fits of anger or deep, sorrowful depression. That’s Hollyweird’s version of creativity.

And since I feel that everyone has the ability to be creative, it would be pretty terrible to think that everyone is weird.

Creative people, at least the ones we think of as creative, are a little more ready to share that creativity with others. We are not weird when we have a great idea – but we are often afraid of being thought weird by people who are not as brave or open about their ideas.

That little voice in your head that keeps telling you about how weird creative people are is a terrible little voice. Deport that voice to the backyard, or over against the fence where those weeds are starting to pop up. Yeah… there.

Creativity is best from a group?

Oh, really? Like who? Congress? Mobs. (Yes, that may seem a bit redundant… sorry.) How about all those crazy villagers chasing the kind and gentle zombie from Count Frankeshteen’s lovely castle? Creative? How about a cannon, you fools.

Creativity is best brought forward when alone – or maybe with people in a more virtual setting – phone, screen-sharing and such. Groups actually hinder creativity. Sure there are great and wonderful groups that nurture new ideas, but they are an anamoly, not the norm. Most groups are more affected by who said what and how different the power levels were and if that new account exec is really ‘hott’, and how the ideas I’m thinking will bring scorn, laughter and eventually loss of the bathroom key.

Groups suck. Usually.

Creatives are slobs with messy offices.

Hmmm. OK, so that may apply to some creatives with handles that begin with ‘wiz…’ but it is NOT a necessary evil of creativity. In fact, how can true creativity exist in a sloppy, unorganized environment. The disorganization may seem foreign to many, but it may be very organized to the individual.

Sometimes the heat of the moment overcomes the attention to putting that stapler back, but the act of the creative is what is really important. I have met many very creative people who have an extremely organized, incredibly clean office.

I hate those people.

But I recognize that we do not have to be a mess to be creative – and it is time to do away with that silly stereotype. My office is a bit disorganized, but my camera gear and studio are impeccably organized. Priorities.

Creative people are always coming up with useless ideas.

Really?

Like cellphones and smart devices and computers we can take with us… on airplanes… that fly.

Fly.

Creative people simply come up with MORE ideas – or at least expounds more ideas – and that may make them seem a bit off. And that is unfortunate, because many ideas that failed at first lead to incredible ideas that come to fruition.

Remember the LISA? It led to the Mac.

A failed search for a high powered glue gave us Post-It Notes.

And did I mention… flying?

Only “creative” people can come up with really creative stuff.

Nuts.

There are a lot of regular, normal people with impeccable offices who are able to come up with incredible ideas. Business changing. Culture changing.

Life changing.

What has this to do with photography?

Everything.

Stop telling yourself that you can’t be creative. Stop thinking that because you work in an environment that is more organized than most is somehow going to cancel out the ideas in your head. Stop thinking that you cannot possibly come up with a good idea if you cannot bounce it off someone first, or that it is a silly idea to begin with.

Stop saying no, and finding ways to not be creative and focus more on BEING creative.

Make photographs that are perfect examples of what you think YOU want to do. Seek no approval prior or after. We self censor way too often.

There are a lot of different paths to take to becoming a professional (even if only in attitude and approach) and it is OK to find the one you like. Grab the metaphorical walking stick and head on out down that path. Ideas are viral… and the more you come up with, the more you will come up with.

And the more creative ideas you have, the more creativity will become your partner.

The consequences of believing myths about creativity can inhibit and hinder your work. Don’t let reasons that do not exist stop you from making images you love.

Thanks for visiting with Essentials For Photographers today… I have to clean my office now.

Sigh.

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About 

I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out www.project52.org. Thanks for visiting.

4 Comments

  1. I know that little voice. It’s fighting me as I try to do the Still Life assignment. Your advice is good and timely. I just need to find my earplugs to shut that little voice out…

    Reply
  2. A true creative would find a reasonable and perfectly valid excuse reason to put off cleaning the office till some future, poorly defined, “later”.

    Reply
    • The true creative will already have a great list made up for why the office ain’t clean. Heh.

      Reply
      • The true creative isn’t concerned about such matters. No, they are focused on ART! ART I say! and they wear berets. And black turtle neck shirts. And black pants. With weasely little mustaches. The mustaches are true regardless of the sex of the Artist!
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