What is Creativity?
Written By: Prashant Pre-final-year student BGMIT Mudhol
Let’s define creativity.
The creative process is the act of making new connections between old
ideas or recognizing relationships between concepts. Creative thinking is
not about generating something new from a blank slate, but rather about
taking what is already present and combining those bits and pieces in a way
that has not been done previously.
While being creative isn’t easy, nearly all great ideas follow a similar
creative process. In 1940, an advertising executive named James Webb
Young published a short guide titled, A Technique for Producing Ideas.
Young believed the process of creative connection always occurred in five
The Creative Process
1. Gather new material. At first, you learn. During this stage you focus on 1)
learning specific material directly related to your task and 2) learning general
material by becoming fascinated with a wide range of concepts.
2. Thoroughly work with the materials in your mind. During this stage, you
examine what you have learned by looking at the facts from different angles and
experimenting with fitting various ideas together.
3. completely out of your mind and go do something else that Step away from the
problem. Next, you put the problem excites you and energizes you.
4. Let your idea return to you. At some point, but only after you have stopped
thinking about it, your idea will come back to you with a flash of insight and
5. Shape and develop your idea based on feedback. For an idea to succeed, you
must release it out into the world, submit it to criticism, and adapt it as needed.
How to Be More Creative
Step 1: Give yourself permission to create junk
In any creative endeavor, you have to give yourself permission to create
junk. There is no way around it. Sometimes you have to write 4 terrible
pages just to discover that you wrote one good sentence in the second
the paragraph of the third page.
Creating something useful and compelling is like being a gold miner. You
have to sift through mounds of dirt and rock and silt just to find a speck of
gold in the middle of it all. Bits and pieces of genius will find their way
to you if you give yourself permission to let the muse flow.
Step 2: Create a schedule
No single act will uncover more creative genius than forcing yourself to
create consistently. Practicing your craft over and over is the only way to
become decent at it. The person who sits around theorizing about what a
best-selling book looks like will never write it. Meanwhile, the writer who
shows up every day and puts their butt in the chair and their hands on the
keyboard — they are learning how to do the work.
If you want to do your best creative work, then don’t leave it up to choice.
Don’t wake up in the morning and think, “I hope I feel inspired to create
something today.” You need to take the decision-making out of it. Set a
schedule for your work. Genius arrives when you show up enough times to
get the average ideas out of the way.
Step 3: Finish something
Finish something. Anything. Stop researching, planning, and preparing to
do the work and just do the work. It doesn’t matter how good or how bad it
is. You don’t need to set the world on fire with your first try. You just need
to prove to yourself that you have what it takes to produce something.
There are no artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, or scientists who became great
by half-finishing their work. Stop debating what you should make and just
Step 4: Stop judging your own work
Everyone struggles to create great art. Even great artists.
Anyone who creates something on a consistent basis will begin to judge
their own work. I write new articles every Monday and Thursday. After
sticking to that publishing schedule for three months, I began to judge
everything I created. I was convinced that I had gone through every decent
idea I had available. My most popular article came 8 months later.
It is natural to judge your work. It is natural to feel disappointed that your
creation isn’t as wonderful as you hoped it would be, or that you’re not
getting any better at your craft. But the key is to not let your discontent
prevent you from continuing to do the work.
You have to practice enough self-compassion to not let self-judgment take
over. Sure, you care about your work but don’t get so serious about it that
you can’t laugh off your mistakes and continue to produce the thing you
love. Don’t let judgment prevent delivery.