Friday, September 5, 2014

How are you creative?

Just over a decade ago I went in for a job interview. In the end it was down to me and one other person who I knew was far more qualified. Although I would have loved to work for this organization, I did not have high hopes. I'm convinced this fact alone made the interview
more relaxing than it probably should have been. I walked out feeling great about the conversation I had just had with a couple of higher-ups except for one less-than-shining moment.  They asked the best question that I have ever been asked in an interview. A question that I believe tells you volumes about a person and how they view themselves. If we all asked each other this question on a first date, we'd save so much time trying to figure out if we were compatible or not... okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but you see where I"m going with this...

Unfortunately I'd fail at my own quiz because even after a decade, I still don't have a good answer. 

Q: How are you creative? 

If you're first reaction is, "I'm not.", you are wrong.  Everyone Is Creative. 

Some people are artistically creative; they draw, they paint, they sculpt.
Some people are musically creative; they play, they sing, they dance.  
Some people are creative with words; they are writers, they are public speakers.

Those are the obvious ones.

I'm pretty sure my answer in the interview consisted of something along the lines of, 
      "I am very visual. um, I am kind of an artist, I guess. I can take colors and put them together... Oh and also I am a creative problem solver."  
I should have ended the statement with something like, "Was that the right answer? are you happy? did I do a good job? can I call my mommy now and ask her to tell me I did a good job?"   

Not the most eloquent moment of my life to be sure. 

As the years go on, and the more people I meet, the more I realize that the world needs creativity of all kinds.  
Some people are the most creative child care givers I have ever met. As a mother, I really, really (really, really) love those people. I know stay-at-home moms who teach and occupy their children 365 days a year AND they love it.  I will be very honest here and tell you that as much as I love my kids, I am a better person because I leave them at daycare every day. I am NOT that kind of creative.

Some people are creative with electrical innovations.  I work with some incredibly smart people who could spend 10-12+ hours a day tinkering with electrical bits and pieces trying to turn them into the next big thing that will make us all a ton of money and put our kids through college. I am NOT that kind of creative.

Some people are creative people-people. I know salesmen, for example who can talk anyone into buying anything. They know how to read people, how people think, how they reason and then, those salesmen present a creative and surprisingly personal sales pitch.  I am NOT that kind of creative.

My suggestion to each of you is to figure out how you are creative and use that to your advantage in life. 
A wise man once said, "If you are going to be a dig ditcher, be the best dig ditcher you can be!"  
And although that's not exactly the message I'm trying to get across here, it is still relevant. 

Find something you are good at, find something you love, and do it to your full potential. This however is not a self help blog. 
                      So writing junkies (whoever you may be) 
                                                                     how does this pertain to you? 
Well, the easy answer is, you are a writer. You are creative with words. Once you acknowledge that you are a writer (often easier said than done), you're there! Nice work. 
Feel free to call it a day, go buy yourself something nice. 

Another possible answer is: when you are creating your characters, consider how THEY are creative. If they are creative problem solvers, use that to help resolve physical conflict. (Think Macgyver, a toothpick, a green banana, and half a fanny-pack.) 

If they are creative people-readers, use that to build and break relationships. (Think Frank Underwood manipulating the world to get what he wants.)

If they are creative artists, use that to help inspire other characters to be more artistic, well rounded people (or dogs, or monkeys, or trolls... whoever your characters may be.) 

My point is: creativity is a powerful personality trait that often goes un-analyzed. 

Unfortunately, a decade later I have yet to come up with an answer for myself that I am personally happy with.  Maybe I'll make that a New-Year's resolution for 2016.  (2015 is already booked with things like, exercise more and be more patient.)

Good luck recognizing your personal creativity!

Thanks for reading

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