Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Creativity Business

Creativity 101

I’m reading the June/July 2008 issue of Scientific American Mind, and I just came across the panel discussion, “Let Your Creativity Soar.” In the discussion, Robert Epstein discusses his version of the four “core competencies” of creative expression.

OK, so this won’t really be new to writers and teachers of writing, but I really enjoyed his neat encapsulation of the creative process.

So here they are, with just a bit of gloss.

Capturing – “preserving new ideas as they occur to you and doing so without judging them”

Challenging – “giving ourselves tough problems to solve . . . in tough situations, multiple behaviors compete with one another, and their interconnections create new behaviors and ideas”

Broadening – “the more diverse your knowledge, the more interesting your interconnections”

Surrounding – “the more interesting and diverse the things and the people around you, the more interesting your own ideas become”

* * *

Capturing. Making notes without editing. Carrying around a little notebook. Easy-breezy. We all do that.

Challenging. Is this the idea behind writing prompts? I’ve never much liked writing prompts. Challenging, though, could be other things as well. Writing a poem a day. Writing in form. Proposing AWP panels. La la.

Broadening. Well, this part is easy. We already all read a bunch of poetry and other literature, but it’s also calling us to read a bunch of different things. Science. History. But we all do some version of this already.

Surrounding. This one is easy for a bit, when one is in school. But then comes more hard work. Community? Readings? People to talk to.

* * *

Maybe these are too basic to be of much use, but it is a nice reminder. One can awaken in the morning, and check one’s four core competencies. Maybe one could even make a graph. Interesting thought, he says, half joking.


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