Have you ever wondered why creativity gets more and more valued everyday? Or still, required? Have you assessed lately your use of your ability to create or your commitment to it? Well, if you’re one of those who think creativity is overrated, think again. It may be the one thing that will assure you a place in the sun tomorrow.
You may be wondering why that is so, what the big deal about creativity is, as I asked myself before writing this post: why is it so increasingly important to create and innovate in any area and any endeavor? My best guess is that, in time, more and more people perceive the value that creative ideas add to their lives, and as some people come up with some ‘never-thought-of-that’, deservedly highly-rated ideas, competition increases. Or maybe it’s simply because people have got enough of traditional ideas and are therefore demanding something new everyday. Needless to say, this demand leaves no space for the obvious and traditional thinking – even this needs creative initiatives to be promoted and achieve large acceptance. And since in our music world innovating is a primary requirement and a constant challenge, please take this as an advice for you, musician and music collaborators, to maximize the use of your creativity in order to make and effectively promote great music.
But what is creativity in first place? From dictionary.com:
"Creativity: The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; Originality, progressiveness, or imagination."
"Creative: Having the ability or power to create; Characterized by originality and expressiveness; Imaginative."
Such clear, comprehensive definitions make it feel somewhat easier for us to be creative, don’t they? Well, at least they simplify the process with actions that anyone can take. And though it sometimes feels challenging to come up with something that doesn’t exist, it may be encouraging to have in mind that every single creation comes from ideas of different things that are simply put together, mixed up, modified or reinvented using existing elements. Quoting my sister’s line: “one is capable of creating new things by seeing existing things with new eyes”.
Creativity is, for me, much more about the result than about the process, because the process can be quite simple and traditional, but it’s the ability to generate an unpredictable, surprising result that makes all difference between the creative and the obvious (obviously).
“To transcend traditional ideas” in order to “create meaningful new ideas” are statements that imply that the traditional is not meaningful, and I would say that’s because there is no added value within traditional ideas. So transcending traditional ideas means to take them beyond, farther, from traditional to meaningful, adding your personality to them in order to build new ideas upon your essence using different elements. For example, by using different rhythms and different instruments, one can make very creative tunes for a simple song idea. All that added up with talent results in amazing, brilliant creations – who of you knows that so creative band called DeVotchKa? (If you don’t, I strongly recommend listening to their music, you might get really inspired! Check out the video at the end of this post).
And how can you make sure you’re not neglecting your creative power? Well, the first thing you can do is identify your personality within your latest creations. If you honestly feel that they don’t express much of yourself, your thoughts and feelings, then they probably lack real creativity. What you should bear in mind is that the creative is “characterized by originality AND expressiveness”, which means both must stick together. Originality results in nothing if it’s not well expressed, and expressiveness alone is not creativity. And in addition to these, inspiration is a major impulse, so it’s important that you pay attention to the unexpected moments when inspiration gets you – it may be gone very quickly if you don’t stimulate your imagination in these moments.
One important observation on the creative process is that you should be careful with eagerness: it can be really tricky. When we’re too anxious about something, or pushing ourselves too hard to generate results, we tend to block our creative thinking, for our minds are too focused on the accomplishment and so full that there is no room for new ideas. So hold on to your essence and free up your mind to conceive new ideas, to see things with new eyes and to observe the countless resources at your disposal, and with a little help from inspiration the results may turn out to be surprising even to you.
Whether or not the statements and definitions above are correct, imagination disregards any concepts and knows no limitations nor boundaries, it only needs to be stimulated in order for the thoughts to flow. One may argue that nothing is created, just copied, or even that creation is nothing but a mixture of existing elements. But the fact that purple is a blend of blue and red doesn’t make it a less beautiful color.
So the bottom line is: nowadays creativity is no longer a plus, but a requirement for the success of any endeavor. And whatever your role in the music industry is, the current scenario provides real opportunities for creative, innovative, forward-thinking individuals. By giving creativity its right value, embracing it and being surrounded by people who also value it, many doors will open up for you and your team.
DeVotchKa - The Clockwise Witness