06 September, 2013

AWAKENING CREATIVITY {How are you creative?}

The title for this post is a question sir Ken Robinson 
 recommends each of us to ask.
  Instead of wondering "how creative am I?" 
think "how am I creative?"

What is creativity? 
Can creativity be nurtured? 
Are some of us born creative while others are not? 
Can I become more creative?  
These are some of the questions that run through my head while I work on the Awakening Creativity series.  I do not have all the answers yet, but from my reading, research, and personal experience I now firmly believe that creativity can be developed and nurtured.

I believe that everyone can create.  How I can be so sure?  Because for most of my life I didn't think myself to be creative.  For most of my life I was sure that some of us (like my sister who is an artist, or Eric, who was always involved in creative projects be it music, photography or graphic arts) are born creative, while others (me) are not.
I used to gawk at creative projects and felt like I could never come up with one myself.  I was sure that my creative gene was simply not there.  Fast forward to today, when my head is buzzing with ideas.  I try, test, create, and share craft projects.  Days when I do not create feel empty and dull.  Today I believe that each of us has his/her own creative potential.  I also believe that creativity is not limited to arts or crafts.  You can be a creative mathematician, a creative researcher, or a creative homemaker.

My creative awakening began with a very mundane activity: cooking.  About 10 years ago, when I moved out of my parents house I taught myself how to cook.  I had little culinary knowledge and lacked any cooking experience.  Like many others I began with cookbooks, cooking magazines, and blogs.  I followed the recipes, learned different techniques, and in a couple of months felt very comfortable with my every-day cooking.  In fact, I was so comfortable that I stopped relying on the recipes and began tweaking, adapting, and, at times, completely changing them to satisfy my taste.  I no longer followed one set of instructions, instead I would find several recipes, combine them, adjust, and come up with my own creation.  It didn't feel like a creative process at all.  At best it felt like an attempt to vary my weekday menus.

One day, during one of those intensely interesting conversations with Eric, the topic of creativity came up.
-Well, I am just not creative - I said with a certainty in my voice. - I am not good at painting, I can not improvise when playing piano, and I do not dance, sing, or perform!
- But you cook - said Eric
.... and went on explaining to me that my creative strength was not in visual arts but in the culinary art, in the way I created new dishes, combined ingredients, mixed spices, and assembled menus.  This was the first time I thought of creativity as something applicable to any task, any process or job.

If you never thought yourself to be creative I am certain you are wrong!  
You might not be an amazing writer but maybe you are an inventive engineer.
You might not be a talented singer but maybe you come up with new games and stories for your little ones.
You might not be the next Picasso but maybe you find new ways of performing the same 'boring' task at work.
Truth is, you are creative in one field or another (or in all of them).  You just have to find it.  You need to find your creativity because it already found you!

The beautiful artwork for the Awakening Creativity series is made by my talented sister Liza

Previous posts from the Awakening Creativity series:


  1. Hey, this is a GREAT post. Oh, I really believe in cultivating creativity. It's why it's so important to cultivate children's natural tendencies to create.

    It's SO interesting to me that you never thought of yourself as creative and that it's a newer identity for yourself. Wow, that's for sharing. That makes your blog ever more special to me! Love that. :)

    By the way, it really can go both ways. I absolutely have ALWAYS identified myself as being creative and "a creative." My entire life...it's just the way I am wired. And YET, as I got older, I judged myself out of my creativity. I had an entire decade without painting, photographing, writing, drawing...and it's something that I am nurturing back into my life. I feel so much more myself when I am creating and I am just working on not judging myself. I don't need to be an "artist" or the best...but creativity is just so important.

    Well, THANKS, I'm thinking about this. Hmmm, maybe a blog post will come out of this. :) xo

    1. Henna, I love your comments (even if I don't get to answer them right away) and I feel like writing a whole letter back to you ;)

      I am 100% with you on children's creativity. There is wonderful quote by Picasso: "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child". Kids are unbelievable creative and, more importantly, they are not afraid of their creativity. There is no judgment that you've mentioned, no fear, they just do it.
      Sir Ken Robinson has a story about this phenomena. The one about the nativity play. He tells it in his book "The Element" and he also mentions it in one of his TED talks (a fast Google search brought this: http://blog.gaiam.com/quotes/authors/ken-robinson in case you want to read it).
      I would love to read more of your thoughts on this. You should DEFINITELY write a post (or two). And share some of Mateo's creative journeys.