Creativity gets a weird press. Everyone mostly likes it, but I see people get upset with the idea of ‘being creative’ (especially the way Ken Robinson presents it), and people saying that creativity must be about gluing knowledge together with sticky plasters made out of technique (this is how the new KS1/2 writing exemplification treats children’s writing). The strange thing is, though, that people are being creative all around me. All the time. There is so much writing on the Internet, that it threatens to collapse under the weight of all those words. Every time you write, you are being creative – you are making something new and of value. Not everyone will like it, but somebody probably will. (And at the very least you got to be self-expressive.) I like to think that I’m a reasonably creative person because I spend my time creating stuff like articles and books. So while I didn’t invent an amazing new machine, I have figured out a few things about making creativity happen.
2. Do the thing you want to be creative in a lot. Most of it will be rubbish but the more rubbish you sift through, the more likely you are to find a diamond. Make it your life’s work to get it right.
3. Get hold of the materials that you need to experiment with. You can’t make something out of nothing. With writing, the materials are mainly experiences, so that you have something to write about. You can experience people, places, culture, cultures, anything.
5. Find your voice.
7. Sit on the shoulders of the people who did the thing you want to be creative in before. This is the bit of the tradition argument (does it really have to be an argument?) that I like. I can learn by seeing what other people did first. But I can’t bypass No.1 in the list. I still have to do the thing I want to be creative in a lot, because this is how I build up technique.
11. Self discipline + Play + Knowledge = Creativity (almost)
13. You have to add a tiny pinch of Stardust.