“Creativity” is a word you hear a lot these days…but you gotta admit, putting a finger on what it really means is pretty tricky. Some people say that creativity means thinking out of the box, or that to be considered a real creative, you have to meet certain criteria or even dress a certain way. Is creativity a single, light-bulb moment, or is it something you can learn to harness over time?
There are a lot of questions and misconceptions surrounding creativity. Let’s separate fact from fiction and debunk 5 of its most common myths:
Myth #1: You Have To Wait For Creativity To Come
While it’s true that certain things spark inspiration and motivate people to pursue creative endeavors, creativity itself is actually more constant than we think. In other words, you don’t have to wait for that stroke of genius or light-bulb moment to be creative.
Think of creativity as a muscle: it’s already a part of you, you just have to exercise and develop it to its full potential. You can train yourself to channel that creative energy, even during the days where you “just don’t feel like it”. For example, if you’re a writer, you can make it a habit to write at least 500 words a day to keep your gears turning. Or if you’re someone who’s into coloring, you might want to color a different page every day, just so you can flex those creative muscles and improve your technique or style.
Sure, inspiration and a “Eureka!” moment can take your work to an entirely different level, but really, you don’t have to wait for your muse to appear to be creative. Instead, you can develop a habit and consistently work to improve your talents and skills.
Myth # 2: Only Certain Types of People Can Be Creative
When someone says “creative person”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it an artist with a paintbrush in hand, wearing quirky clothes and a funny little hat? A musician busy with a piano or a guitar? Does this mean that people who work in technical fields like engineers or accountants can’t be creatives?
The truth is that you don’t have to fit a certain mold to be creative. Being “artsy” and “creative” are often used interchangeably, but there’s a subtle difference.
Arts is just one slice of the creative pizza. Anyone who can make something out of nothing can be creative…and that can be applied in almost every aspect of life. Chemists can be creative with their experiments just as much as a sculptor can with a piece of marble. When engineers develop a certain way to make our lives easier with technology, that’s creative, too.
You don’t have to dress, talk or act a certain way because creativity comes in all shapes and forms and no one size fits all.
Myth # 3: You Have To Be Born With It
Ever seen a kid prodigy on TV or met someone who’s just naturally good at what they do? These talented people make complicated things seem so easy!
Some of their abilities might come from good genes, but developing that raw talent is another ball game altogether. Human development is striking the right balance between nature and nurture. These people may have won the genetic lottery, but they also put in a lot of time and effort in honing their natural gifts.
That being said, you don’t have to be born creative. Creativity can be learned and developed.
Now is actually the best time to be a creative because we’ve got one powerful innovation our forebears didn’t have: the internet. You can literally learn how to do virtually anything with a click of a button. There are millions of tutorial videos and courses that you can take on almost every skill imaginable (coloring included, of course!). You can connect with experts with a simple comment or tweet. You can even submit your artwork and be part of a community. It’s a wild world out there.
You don’t exactly have to be born with raw talent if you just know how to use your resources and of course, be ready to practice and work hard for your goals.
Myth # 4: The Starving Artist Myth
The Starving Artist myth revolves around one of the most common stereotypes in the creative community. Believers of this myth think that the only way to be a “genuine” artist is by being as obscure as you can be. The more underground, the better. It’s art for art’s sake— hardcore edition. And if you start monetizing your art or making stuff for commerce, you automatically become a fraud and a sell-out.
It’s pretty harsh, right? Who doesn’t want to be recognized for their art?
Thankfully, this belief is nothing more than a myth, especially in this time and age.
You don’t have to be a “starving artist” to be considered a “real artist”. There’s also no shame in turning your artistic pursuits into side-hustles that could give you some profit, either. If people love and appreciate what you create enough that they wanna buy it, let them. It won’t make you less of an artist in any case.
Myth # 5: Limitations Hold Your Creativity Back
It’s a popular assumption that the more freedom you give someone, the more creative they will become. This is not exactly true. Research shows that constraints and challenges make a person’s creative juices flow better. They make people’s brains work harder to develop a solution to the problem or find better ways to use limited resources.
Blank slates can turn out to be more of a burden than a blessing, in many cases. Placing limitations, on the other hand, push people to use their imagination and in turn, make them more innovative.
Creativity is one big word. It can mean different things to different people, but one thing’s for sure: it’s a huge part of life and it’s present in everyone. You don’t have to fit in a certain box or be born with the right genes to be creative. Creativity is a resource that anyone can tap if they really put their back into it.
Creativity is too vast a term to put labels on and these myths don’t hold water to what it truly is. The next time you see someone who believes in these misconceptions, send them this article and we’ll be happy to convince them otherwise.