To be creative.
What does it mean?
Pulling something out of nothingness. Creating substance and meaning from where there is none. Pulling words and images and ideas and creations out of the ether, out of the empty void. So, how does it work?
Where does creativity come from?
If you ask Neil Gaiman, he will tell you there is an idea fairy out there, who visits only when compelled, or that you order ideas from an idea of the month club, like a gift box subscription, and once a month, an idea appears in neatly packaged cardboard on your front stoop. You pick this box up gently and open it carefully, or full of zeal, ripping open the packaging like a demon child on Christmas morning, and out pops a new idea.
This is as good an explanation as any.
We know that creativity comes from divergent thinking, outside the box and outside the norm of cognition. This is why creative types are so often social outsiders, because they think differently and have a hard time fitting into the tidy little boxes most people want to keep themselves in.
But, where does this divergent thinking come from? It’s possible it is nothing more than a personality type. Some people are born with an openness to new experience, they demonstrate an usual amount of curiosity — they are always asking why — and creativity cannot thrive without a willingness to take risks. You have to put yourself out there, to be a creative, to put your words or images or ideas out into the public domain, to be criticized and critiqued and broken down and this takes no small amount of personal courage, or the willingness to take risks.
It also takes experience to be a creative. Strong emotions are often the driver of creative endeavors. I suppose, you have to be out there in the world and living, collecting both positive and negative emotional experiences, to provide both the fodder and the motivation for creative self-expression.
There are environmental factors as well — a room of one’s own — resources and space and the free time required for creative expression. If you’re working 80 hours a week engaged in hard labor, even if you are paid well for this labor, you still need the time and energy to be creative. This is probably the…