The word “creativity” describes the making of something new.
As human beings, we don’t create something out of nothing.
We create new things by mixing and combining existing things…raw materials and ideas.
Inherent in the word “creativity” is originality, which also describes something new – something that stands on its own and is not derivative.
Within the word “originality” is “origin” – the place or time from which something new comes.
So what’s all this definition stuff about?
You and I may not be as creative as we think.
As a matter of fact, much of the work today generally referred to as “creative,” isn’t creative at all, by definition.
Because for it to be creative, it must be original.
For you and I to be creative, we must be original.
Not to mention, "There's nothing new under the sun," right?
We can’t be copycats or coattail Creatives.
Instead, we must see the familiar in unfamiliar ways.
We must “make strange”.
We must get as close to the source, the root, the origin of the creative impulse as we can possibly get.
The majority of “creative work” I encounter isn’t original at all. And, I have to admit, that includes much of my own work.
It’s derivative work.
Which is why we must trace the roots of our craft to its origins.
We must, as Gary Snyder writes in the closing lines of his poem For The Children, “learn the flowers”.
What do you think?
Is the majority of work called "creative" today truly creative?
Or am I uncreative in my definition of creativity?
(photo by Nick Newell on Flickr)
Keitharsis helps Creatives prepare and prune themselves for the real work of their craft. New essays are published each Tuesday and Thursday.