Creativity and the talent myth

MudCreativity and the talent myth

I came across this piece of writing few days ago when I was rearranging the location of files on various hard drives. I cannot remember writing it in September 2009 or the potential sources.

What is creativity?

As with all types of endeavour it is always useful to define what you mean by various words so there is a common understanding between the writer and the reader.

Definitions of creativity

1 – The ability to create.

2 – First, they [the characteristics of creativity] always involve thinking or behaving imaginatively.

Second, overall this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective.

Third, these processes must generate something original.

Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective.

3 – Creativity is the ability to think up and design new inventions, produce works of art, solve problems in new ways, or develop an idea based on an original, novel, or unconventional approach.

Other words for creativity – imagination, originality, inspiration, ingenuity, inventiveness, resourcefulness, and vision.

Each human being is a gifted and creative individual with a responsibility to use their creativity to its highest potential.

Is creativity a habit?

Yes it is if you read the book by Twyla Tharp called “The Creative Habit” which was written a few years ago by this literate Choreographer with 18 honorary doctorates.

Is thinking creativity a process?

Creativity is most definitely a process that can be learned by anybody.

  • Who or what inspires you?
  • Decide on a theme
  • Think about the outline of your intent, write it down
  • Collect your ideas, write them down, possibly make a scrapbook
  • Think about the interrelationships between your differing ideas
  • Put the project away for a while
  • Re-evaluate where you are and what potential outcomes there could be, add or omit ideas that are outside of the scope what you are trying to achieve
  • Put the project away again for a while
  • Narrow down the number of possibilities to two or three that have the most potential
  • Begin working on those with the most potential
  • Review and evaluate which now has the strongest potential to go all the way to achieving the intent you had when you started
  • Fully complete this last idea with all this twist, turns and changes. Very probably you will now be a completely different place to where you first started but now you have a much stronger and cohesive solution to the original idea.

Composer John Barry said “The worst thing you can do is fall in love with your first idea”

The talent myth.

Invest your passion and time in those activities that are important but not necessarily urgent in the nourishment and enhancement of your creativity. Many studies have shown that those who achieve the most are not necessary the most talented or naturally gifted but those who are most driven or passionate to achieve the goals they set for themselves.

Creativity does not happen in a vacuum.

It is essential to believe in yourself and to give yourself permission to be a creative photographer. Who or what inspires you? Only you can answer this as you are a creative individual.

I chose to use the picture above called “Mud” for its various meanderings and false starts. Very much like creativity.

A big hello to all the new followers of my little blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2013

6 responses to Creativity and the talent myth

  1. Adrian Lewis says:

    Interesting thoughts. Two points strike home to me. First that creativity can be learned – certainly, its just a question of thinking about things.

    But two, as you’ve mentioned, that thinking about things is a lot more likely to be successful if we are driven or passionate about it – that’s when pictures from the heart start appearing and we get airborne. See you soon! Adrian


  2. LensScaper says:

    A fascinating read, Andy. I’ve just delivered my first talk about Learning to See – just one aspect of Creativity. My conclusion is that it is a darned difficult topic to talk about because it means different things to different people. The word that I think underpins the creative process is ‘cultivation’. We have to do all the things you rightly list, and then in agricultural terms prepare the seed bed and then nurture the process through to the harvest of a successful set of images. And as you have stated before (in a quote of yours that I used in my talk) you need to see the end from the beginning otherwise ‘possibilities will be lost’. I came across a quote by David Ulrich recently which is apt: ‘It is one of the paradoxes of the creative process that it is both immensely challenging and demanding, and at the same time, the source of real joy and true satisfaction.’ No gain without pain as the saying goes.


  3. Very well written, and true. I used to constantly bemoan the fact that I had “very little imagination,” and continued to believe that was true, right up until the point I finished writing my 3rd book. Then I realized it was there, I’d simply never bothered to use it.


Please share your thoughts on this post

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s