Creativity: Gift or Craft

I heard a podcast with stand up comedians Ken Davis and Bob Stromberg talking about creativity. The one thing that stood out worth sharing was that neither man felt creativity was a gift. To clarify, they defined the “gift” as the capacity and desire to create, while they said “creativity” is a learned craft that everyone can practice.

I agree that everyone can be creative especially when following these 5 practical steps that I use:

1. Capture

The first step in being creative is capturing the things that stir the emotions. When I capture in a quick note or sketch the thing that impacted me or moved me, I’m able to remember it and give it my full consideration.

2. Explore

Once I’ve captured the moment, I then explore why it touched me. I ask myself questions in an attempt to learn the truth about why I felt the humorous or dramatic moment.

3. Birth an Idea

When I contemplate or meditate on the very thing that I chose to explore, new creative ideas pop into my mind. The one that makes the greatest impression fuels the fire of passion, giving me an opportunity to flesh out the concept in the form of an artistic expression.

4. Play

People stop being creative when they stop playing. It’s therefore important to play around with variations of the new artistic idea. Rather than searching for the one “right” answer to present, playfulness requires exploring multiple right answers to find the most entertaining one that clarifies the message.

5. Polish

Assessing the presentation or performance with a test audience helps me figure out what worked and what didn’t work. More importantly, I learn what the audience understood or missed. This new gained knowledge gives me a chance to tweak and polish my creative idea for its final and official production.

Being creative is a choice that requires a playful viewpoint while developing the craft. Everyone is capable of being creative, but not everyone chooses to work hard at capturing the emotional elements required to be successful. Fortunately the first step is child’s play, which everyone is capable of because we all know what its like having been a child.

© 2017 by CJ Powers

The Creative Non-Linear Conversation

Creatives_share_Meal

Last night I got together with a group of artists that all share a similar heart for the arts. The combined creativity of the group was enough to solve world hunger, had it been a topic of discussion. But conversational subject matters with a team of imagination filled brains rarely settles on a single subject long enough to make any significant changes in the world.

That’s not to say the group was made up of people who flit from one topic to another without understanding. Our conversations actually got quite deep, emotionally stimulating and were inspirational. The time was well spent with heartfelt information that’ll bond even the most skeptical.

The goal of the evening was not to solve humanities issues, nor was it to develop a life-changing story that would be pumped through the media to capture the attention of those hungry for life fulfilling adventures. The time was just a gathering of like-minded artists that wanted to share a meal, relate to the awkwardness of creatives trying to fit into society, and encourage each other through emotional and spiritual support.

I once read that 1 in 1,000 people use their creativity and 1 in 10,000 people live a creative lifestyle. That means there are thousands of people who find the creative a bit on the odd side. They love the creations, but find it weird relating to the creative.

Most of this comes from societal “norms” about what life should look like. Some of it comes down to a person’s fear of what they don’t understand. I even find most people wanting to change the creative to fit into our society, rather than allowing him to create the next renaissance.

One of the little things I enjoyed about last night was how rapid the conversation moved from topic to topic in a non-linear fashion, all while keeping everyone invested and focused. No one got lost in the conversation.

Had there been a more linear thinker in the room, I’m confident they would’ve been lost more than once. Not because they wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the subject matter and the rapid changes of topic, but because they might not have understood how the vast variety of conversation points all related to the emerging theme that rose from the group.

While we all had differing vantage points, we were all in agreement with the overall theme. Our choices in how to move forward were different, but we all held to the same goal to encourage each other to work through the things holding us back. Our differences were celebrated and encouraged; yet we were unified in the theme that held the ideas to task.

Each one of us agreed to continue the good fight in producing art that will touch someone’s life with hope. We also agreed to support each other by helping them be the best them they can be within the arts.

Unfortunately, conversations like this should be on Friday nights so we have the weekend to recover from the figurative stimulus pumping through our veins. Monday morning came too quickly for those of us whose minds were running at full pace into the wee hours of the night.

But it was fun.

By the way, if you’ve never had a chance to spend a complete evening with a bunch of crazy artistic types, you should invite yourself to their next get together and witness something that few have ever seen. There’s always too much passion and a lot of weird moments, like when the heart stirring video we watched was accompanied by the host’s dog snoring. Certainly a dog snoring loudly during a touching scene is humorous, but the reaction of creatives is far more entertaining.

Copyright © 2016 by CJ Powers

Three Kids Stir Audience

© apops - Fotolia.comLast weekend I had the privilege of listening to all three of my kids speak to a good-sized audience. My son, Chris, kicked off the event with humorous comments that broke the tension in the room and drew the audience into the stories and ideas he shared. His natural style, energy and captivating performance held everyone’s attention through to his final point.

Whispers filled the room as my daughter moved up the steps to the stage. The audience was concerned for Carolyn, as no one could imagine how anyone would follow Chris’ success. But she too blew the audience’s expectations away with her unique style and satirical humor. To balance her fun approach, she shared personal anecdotes salted with words of comfort, compassion and encouragement.

After a couple more speakers, my youngest daughter, Caitlyn, climbed the steps and shared a reading. It was powerful, thought provoking and clear. Her professional presence at the podium was salted with grace and her trademark smile. Her final words launched a buzz of comments in the audience about how amazing my three kids were.

While I’ve messed up numerous things in my kids’ lives over the years, I’ll claim success in raising three incredible leaders and speakers. They learned how to think, tell stories and develop strong opinions. They are capable of communicating one on one and in large groups. But most of all, they have learned to do one thing I never set out to teach them.

All three kids can speak from their heart in an authentic manner that captures the attention of everyone in the room.

Sharing from the heart presents our greatest passions to our audience. It’s a form of entertainment that opens the mind to consider the words being shared. It also lowers the wall that protects our mind to give room for change and growth. Words of passion help the audience see who we really are and respect the message we share.

Should I leave this world unexpectedly, I’ll be at peace knowing that I left the world three times better off than when I entered it. I am a proud papa and can’t wait to see how my kids impact our world over the next few decades. It’s my prayer that they will each be given a divine calling to make a difference in their marketplace, neighborhood and communities.

And, I’m trusting that I’ll have many opportunities to impact millions too. After all, there are more than 7.4 billion people on earth that I’d like to share a piece of my passion with. Whether by speaking to one person at a time or reaching thousands through the media, I can’t imagine being a part of life and not participating in the possibilities.

© 2016 by CJ Powers