Nurturing creativity

I had a life-changing question hit me one day in my AP English class during my senior year of high school: what if I was not, or never would be, an “ideas person?” My oldest friend L. is one of those Tracy Flick types of girls (and I say that with love, truly -- I think girls should strive to be like that) who raised her hand constantly with idea after idea – creative bursts that popped up like fireworks. I, contrastingly, was someone who was used to stewing on things for a while – days, weeks – before an idea or a solution to a problem would come to me. And even then, it would only be one, and usually mediocre. So I sat there that spring day of senior year, stumped at how L. managed to think of things, and so quickly!, and vowed: I would become an “ideas person.” It became a life goal.

I came across this article from The Atlantic today. It struck a chord. Because here’s the dirty little secret about creativity, I’ve found: you can transform yourself into an ideas person, a creative thinker, into someone who sees the world just a smidge differently than everyone else, if you work at it. Because it’s mostly about consciousness.

Seems counterintuitive, no? That in order to become more creative you have to work harder at it? Because isn’t creativity something inherent, something we either have or don’t have? Well, I vote no. I think creativity lives in a lot more people than we think; and I like what The Atlantic piece says about finding ways to nurture it, even in corporate environments.

I nurture my creativity as often as I can – consciously or not. When I unplug and take a yoga class or go for a run on the water, that’s nurturing my creativity. When I see a movie I didn’t think I wanted to see, that’s nurturing my creativity. When I cook a new meal, tell a new joke, ask a stranger a question, that’s nurturing my creativity.

What do you do to nurture yours?