Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Creativity for the Uncreative by Chloe

Until recently I shied away from being described as creative. As an author, I suppose it was a reasonable description, but even when my first novel was published I didn't feel as if the title suited me. Creative people wear smocks and multiple piercings, they practise mindfulness at sunrise and stay up half the night discussing philosophy. They don’t wear jeans and spill fruit juice down their t-shirts just before they have to go out and watch trashy documentaries when they’re tired.

But I think it’s time I re-claimed the word ‘creative’. My university degree – my first love – is science, and I always rejected being ‘creative’ as it seemed to be the opposite to ‘scientific’. What rubbish! Scientists are some of the most creative people out there. If you look at the way inventions were refined, mathematical equations defined and new theories opined, it is a world of rich, extraordinary thinking. Creativity is “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness”. There are no limits as to where you use that creativity.

I’m sure many of you are as creative as Joe and Jenny, Rulers of this Blog, are. I cannot claim to match them in terms of the width and depth of their creativity but I do dabble with knitting and sewing, I love baking and I make up lies for my day job. All these things are, of course, creative, and most of them I’m not much good at. But I've come to believe, that true creativity isn't in mastering these skills. True creativity is in learning new things. You might not be the first person to knit a sock or make a special cushion so you can sit on the stairs more comfortably (OK, you may be the first person to do that), but if it’s new for you then you are creating something in your life – inventing a new part of yourself.

In the last five years I've tried to teach myself all sorts of new things. I taught myself to knit, to touch-type, to write in Teeline shorthand and to use a sewing machine. I've made a Christmas tree out of baubles. Not all of those things would be considered creative by most people, but they have sparked my imagination and enriched my life. Creativity doesn't just mean crafts.

As I write this I have just taken possession of a DVD containing 48 lectures outlining the classics of British literature. This was something of an impulse purchase when I stumbled across the company The Great Courses. Have you heard of them? They provide over 500 courses – from meditation or calculus, to world history or the appreciation of art – given by leading university professors and experts. Is it creative? I don’t know, but it’s new, it’s making me use my brain (as a full-time mum of a young baby this is something I value!) and it’s widening my experience of the world.

I'm no longer scared of being called creative. Somewhere, deep down or on the surface, we are all creative. It’s part of being gloriously human. We just have to decide what we want to spend our time creating. If we never stop learning new stuff, we’ll never stop inventing new parts of ourselves. And isn't that an adventure?

What new things have you been learning recently?

Chloe is a long-standing friend and has appeared on this blog a few times in the last year . Chloe is a teller of tales - some short, some long, some prize-winning. She started writing by accident a few years ago and forgot to stop until it was too late. Her first novel, The Art of Letting Go, was published in July 2014. Chloe lives in Devon with her husband and son, where she makes puddings, avoids spiders and wages war on misused apostrophes. You can catch up with her on her website, or chat to her on Twitter.


  1. I agree so much. I veered towards Science and Maths at school, and the art teacher even suggested that I should go do German, as my "art wasn't up to much". I definitely class myself as creative. I am never happier than when I'm creating with words or crafts. Science is beautiful and enriching too, and definitely creative - I'm not sure where in the world you are, but here in the UK we have an amazing scientist doing some fabulously creative shows on TV at the moment... if you've not heard of Professor Brian Cox, then you need to find him. Science and creativity are definitely hand in hand.

    1. I am in the UK and I do love old Brian! Though my absolute favourite popular scientist is Professor Robert Winston. I love both his professional scientist and his TV/book work.


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