Creative Minds

Archive for January 2009

This post on self-direction is a long post. I did a mind map (see previous post on Quality 2 for more information on mind maps) and came up with 6 main aspects related to self-direction. All these aspects are interrelated so I might occasionally repeat myself. Please bear with me.

1. Work habits

A self-directed creative establishes work habits that support his/her planning, purpose and intention regarding his/her creative pursuits. He/she will stick to these work habits with remarkable tenacity, yet be flexible enough to make changes if required by circumstance. These habits can include continuous education in creativity and use of materials, self-competition to keep up internal motivation, regular maintenance of creative aspects relating to the work and regular working hours.

2. Self-management

Most creative persons have a lot of freedom, flexibility and independance in expressing their creativity. Most creatives have to fulfill many different roles eg. marketing, planning, performing, administration, teaching, etc. Self-management, including time management, in these areas are crucial and will ensure that areas like marketing, planning, etc. don’t overtake your art and creativity as first priority. There will be instances where these matters will be top priority, but with the necessay planning and self-management, these times should  be short-lived.

3. Independence

As said before, many creatives have a lot of freedom in expressing their creativity, so much so that all this freedom can be daunting and paralysing. One approach to this situation is to set your own boundaries in areas like subject matter and materials. To ensure that your self-imposed boundaries don’t have the effect of stifling your development, they need to be reviewed and possible adjusted from time to time.

4. Self-discipline

Self-discipline need to be exercised in sticking to work habits, continuous self-management and review of boundaries and planning, and upkeep of self-confidence levels. By exercising self-discipline in these areas, growth and productivity are virtually ensured.

5. Self-confidence

Increase your confidence by focusing on your strengths. One need to be aware of your weaknesses, but focusing on them will undermine your self-confidence and sap your energy. Adopt an “I can do this!”  mindset, and then take action and do it. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by what you can achieve with this kind of self-talk as most people tend to underestimate themselves.

If you have confidence in yourself, you will take more creative risks. You will probably make more mistakes, but you will have a lot more successes too. Apparently research has shown that you achieve more by developing your strengths than by trying to correct your weaknesses.

6. Creative energy

You need to maintain a sufficient level of creative energy to enable you to function at optimum levels of activity. You can’t create if you are tired. You need to determine what fuels your creativity and take the time to engage in these recharging activities. Things that recharge my creative energy are reading fiction, watching musicals, socializing with positive friends on a one-to-one basis, journalling, yoga and taking a nap.

You will need to experiment with all of the above aspects until you find out what works for you to maintain your optimum levels of creativity. And remember to be diligent yet flexible in applying all these aspects. Being flexible and adjusting the six listed aspects from time to time as your circumstances change, will ensure that you operate at maximum productivity levels and experience satisfaction from your creative pursuits.

To be imaginitive means to be able to dream up creative and original thoughts. I’m deliberately using the words “dream up” instead of “think” to emphasize the day-dream, right-brain quality of being imaginitive. Thinking is a linear, left-brain activity. When I say “I want to think about X” I often find that I limit my thoughts to rational, practical and often unimaginitive thoughts.

On the other hand, if I say to myself “I want to dream about Y” I throw open the doors to my imagination. I involve my creative, right-brain immediately, giving myself permission to be whimsical and weird. Afterwards, when I take the time to analyze these right-brain ideas, I am usually pleasantly surprised by their freshness and ingenuity.

A tool I often use for dreaming is Tony Buzan’s Mind Maps. You can find more information, tips and lots of examples on mind maps on his website at www.buzanworld.com/Mind_Maps.htm .

A  resourceful person has the ability to find creative new uses for old things in order to overcome obstacles or to reach a desired goal.

To think up new concepts will probably require you to think out-of-the box. It’s highly likely that you will have to leave your comfort zone and that is normally uncomfortable. I want to make the following statement: The person with the greatest tolerance for the discomfort resulting from moving outside his/her comfort zone, will be the most resourceful. Do you agree?

Trigger thinking outside-the-box by asking the BSQ’s (Big Six Questions): how?, why?, who?, what?, when? and the ultimate one, what if?. When you answer the BSQ’s write down all the solutions that come to mind, no matter how hare-brained or impossible it might seem at that stage. You will sift through them later. Even ludicrous solutions can often be adapted to something perfectly practical on second thought.

Do you have a problem that seems insurmountable? Do you dream of a goal you just don’t know how to reach? Write down all possible and impossible solutions and then take it from there…

Are you curious about creativity and the creative process? If so, you have come to the right place! This blog will deal with all aspects of creativity: from firing up your creativity to learning how to break through artist’s block. I will often suggest exercises you can try out. Any feedback on these exercises are always welcome and much appreciated.

A general definition of creativity is the ability to create.  A creative mind might reflect any, if not all, of the 38 qualities I have identified by observing my students. Starting 29 January 2009, I will publish a post on each of these qualities.

Examples of my artwork can be seen on www.artcraft.co.za .

Positive as well as negative feedback on the content of this blog are always welcome.


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