8 min read


Lately I have been having a lot of conversations centred around the creative lifestyle. We talk about it like it is this clearly defined thing, but with more thought it becomes even harder to define. What is the creative lifestyle, what is it to be creative? This concept of creativity is something that people desire and that some people just ooze but how would I define it? This is a question that consumed my mind for a few days and I remembered a Steve Jobs quote:

"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things."

It's all about perspective. So creativity to me was just that connecting things that I have experienced. Using the inputs in my life to produce an output that just "made sense". If this is what creativity means to me I wondered what it meant to other people. So I asked, I asked several people these questions: "What is creativity to you? How would you describe the creative process?" If you had answered the question, thank you, I really enjoyed your response. If you would like to answer the question I would love to hear your opinion.

In regards to the creative process most had describe a sort of spark that triggers your creativity. From there things started happening as if you were in reverie. A draft is produced and then "hundreds of little adjustments" are made until you get a finished product, Iteration. As one of the responders put it: "Inspiration. Connection. Discipline."

The definitions of creativity I got were beautiful. All of them with some brilliant insight that touched on the same basic idea from a different perspective. There was a common theme of doing something. To me this spoke a lot about the desire for creativity and what seems to be the lack of it in our society. We have been so conditioned to sit back and consume, allowing others dictate how we are to do things.

In school we are told how we are to learn, on the computer we are told that ever file has a folder, if there is too many organize them into other folders. There are so many constrictions that it is stifling creativity. Recently I have been carrying a notebook around with me and it is so freeing. Some friends ask "why don't you just take notes on your phone?" It is because I feel way more creative when I can write with some freedom.

An illustration I use a lot in these conversations is that of a classroom lecture. If you and I and three others were to take notes down from a lecture using our computers they would look nearly identical, BUT if we were to use pen & paper our individuality would be all over that note. I would have somethings down that makes zero sense to you and probably vice versa. There is freedom for the creative self to be expressed because there is space. I like using pencil, you might like pen, I draw weird diagrams because I am visual, you might highlight or use a different colour pen for definitions. I am ranting now but I would challenge you to try it. Get a little notebook and carry it around with you for a week. Any time that you would write down a note in your phone or just think "out loud" via texting someone, use a pencil or pen and write it down. At the end of the week read through some of the stuff you have written, you may be surprised at how creative you really are.

As for the rest of life and creativity, one of the responders defined creativity as "confidence to explore". So don't settle, explore.

Here are the responses I got. I was going to try and filter out some of the brilliant thoughts that people had but I will let their responses speak for themselves. For the record, I asked most on Facebook chat and they didn't know I would post them. If you would like your response removed, let me know.

I think of it as the sparked desire, thoughtful expression and execution of the making of something new... People tend to think of the arts when they hear the word... But it can apply to anything new... Obviously business, you can creatively create a new creative process.

The creative process starts with a spark. For me, it's usually while I'm driving in my car or lying in bed. It usually happens after digesting a day's thoughts. People often inspire me - the things they say or do and how they engage with me and others. That's usually where my inspiration comes from - through the digestion of experiences with people.
After that, the inspiration needs to be spoken, written down, made tangible somewhere. It has to be talked about and questioned and challenged from every angle. This is the most beneficial, vulnerable and frightening part of the creative process. You come to a point where your ideas are put on a pedestal and can be knocked down by anyone. In the same way, people can start standing by them, building around and under the tower to solidify these ideas. I like this part because it shapes your inspiration or idea so that it becomes collaborative and communal. It's not just yours anymore. Your inspiration begins to mold and grow into this collective of people's input. Gah. I love that. And I always wonder... if I didn't talk to people about it or write about it or put myself out there, what would this have been? Crap. It's a humbling experience to know that people are good at things and so are you. It's when you come together that you get the best things.

I would say creativity is living and producing originality and having a constantly running mind on ways to change or create things in your environment

the creative process i would say is inspiration followed by ideation leading hopefully to creation

Creativity is outcome of a persons unique view of the world around them and how they tangibly express it. As a believer I would say i believe we have a uniqueness in our creativity to see things through Gods eyes or have the opportunity to have our eyes ears taste etc opened up to a new level....
The creative process for me is often directed by a inner feeling. Particularly in design I'm led to colours shapes font based on a certain feeling I associate with the project.

It's like my inner expression of how I see something that usually has yet to be define in an image or on paper

Creativity is: redefining the rational. It is the process of taking something we know (or think we know), and twisting, bending, and breaking it into something we could have only dreamed of. I always think of the quote by C.S. Lewis. "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in." That to me is at the heart of creativity: Aiming for heaven. Aiming for something unknowable. The harsh reality - and beauty - is that we will never fully achieve that "heaven," and that is what fuels that unquenchable thirst in all of humanity. That is why creativity is so persistent.

hey! good question! my most concise answer would be that creativity to me is all about inspiration, connection and discipline. i think the beginning point to anything creative is being inspired by something/someone else. it gives you that first thought. then i think in order for that thought to become reality you have to find purpose and connection to whatever you're working on, that gives you the motivation..and then discipline is required to give the art the attention it deserves. i don't know if those words are 100% what i would use, but just thinking about it now..they are what came to mind, especially the inspiration piece.

I think of imagination and failure.
I think its about seeing diferent perspectives as well, and revealing those perspectives to others to see in a new way too. I think it is human nature to create, everything that is alive creates, and is created. For me the creative process is about trying new things.Everything could be said within the creative process. It's a difficult thing to really define, cause when you think of everything that is created, it is just everything that exists.
I think dancing is important.

Making stuff I think looks neat. From my noggin. Brainstorm then refine.

I would say creativity is the ability to separate humans from each other. It creates individuality and ingenuity. Different people would have different styles but I think it all allows people to think without thinking.

creativity to me is the physical or outward expression of ones emotions. whether that's through writing, playing, singing, dancing whatever.

Creativity is the act of putting form to an idea. Turning intangibles into tangibles. I am incredibly fascinated by the creative process - I think there are few things in the world (if any) that the potential for earthly permanence quiet like the creative process.

You can build a house... and eventually, it will fall down. Same with a car. Same with almost anything that is purely a physical creation. But the ideas behind all of these things - they endure.

Same with art...
We are eternally fascinated by the Mona Lisa, or by the Beethoven's ninth because art is not subject to obsolescence.
At least not in the same way. I would describe the creative process as a difficult, but learned one.
it's not magic... true creativity is not born of spontenaetity... but instead the practiced ability to channel your energies into giving your ideas dimension.

Creativity is knowing that there are no borders. That no matter what stands in your way you can always discover a path around it, whether it be intellectually or artistically. To be creative is to always venture outside the box looking for something more. Creativity cannot be explained in words, because if it was there would be a limit on it, and without an explanation there is no limit on creativity, it's infinite.
And the process is just constantly growing, learning from new ideas and inspiration minute by minute day by day.. Always be inspired to create something bigger and better.

I guess for me, I kind of see creativity as a process allowing you to represent one object/emotion/anything through something that isn't that object/emotion/anything.
So if I were wanting to talk about homelessness as a song topic, I could call it 'homelessness and what's actually happening behind what we physically see' hahah... Or I could call it 'Paper Bag' and write about what resorting to a straight bottle of alcohol in a brown paper bag every day of your life, really represents, and why there's so much more to these outlets than what we just assume. Almost telling the back story to how the paper bag became an end result.
For me, that's how I see creativity. And I think really good creativity always has to force people to think.
I do it all the time with lyrics. Like, I just really wanted to state that over consuming generally leads to less satisfaction. So instead I wrote "Spending all that's been earn't, there's nothing you're enhancing. Over indulge to feel empty... Mansion."
One of the most exciting things in life. For sure

I think the creative "process" begins with an emotion. And that emotion influences and spurs the creative energy achieved throughout the various stages and final product. I put process in quotations because to me the word insinuates a linear, set journey, a singular way to get from point A to B - and that just does not fit with creativity. Creativity is uninhibited expression. A sensory representation of emotions that allows and inspires communication with others' senses and emotions.

Simply, creativity is a process, a choice, and an expression of self that evolves either through deliberate or spontaneous construction. Creativity is used in our daily lives. It is a novel act to be resourceful, emotional, and daring. Creativity inspires, and is also a result of inspiration. Creativity empowers one to maximize their potential, become more efficient, and is a skill everyone should practice in their life.
I would describe the creative process as stages of thought. The creative process exists in our minds thus originates with a person. The act of being creative produces both tangible and intangible results which entail original ideas and hold value. The creative process is on-going and develops a person to their full capacity. The process of creativity brings satisfaction and is part of being human.

Creativity is being able to express feeling, thought or an idea in a different matter. The creative process is different for everyone but it involves to individual being fully themselves to reach their full potential of creativity

So let me ask you: What is creativity to you? How would you describe the creative process?