Monday, March 12, 2012

Got Creativity?

No matter what kind of schooling you had, it's likely that there are gaps in your education. Perhaps you were absent the day they discussed the 21st president (Chester A. Arthur), or when the chemistry class learned a key formula. Or perhaps you missed out on the more creative classes, like art, music, or creative writing.

Well, no need to be sad about what we missed. There is good news - we can do something about it. We can take classes, read books, scour search engines, and use other means to learn and foster creativity. Filling in the gaps is easier than ever, don't you think?

I'm pondering this because a friend recently shared an article by Michael Michalko entitled:

Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking

Mr. Michalko contends that we do not have to have the official title of "artist" to be creative. He makes excellent points about creativity - how to nurture and stretch it. If that's not enough food for thought, he cites notable personalities like Walt Disney, who was fired from his first newspaper job because "he lacked imagination". Did Mr. Disney let go of his creative ideas? No. And neither should we.

The article made me reflect on the creative encouragement injected into my formative years. Two things stand out - my Mom and my English Literature teacher. They both told me I was a good writer. While I didn't take their comments and write a Great American novel (yet!), I do think their support lent a subconscious boost that still resonates in my head today.

If you have a moment, I urge you to read the article. I'm curious as to whether you agree with Mr. Michalko's thoughts.

Did you have creative encouragement or mentors while growing up? What do you do now to boost your creative genius?

Happy writing,

Photo credit: Stock Exchange


  1. Hi Karen .. I'm afraid I didn't - despite having a good education, with a great many openings presented to us - the encouragement aspect wasn't really there - but I can understand looking back now.

    The background has helped me push out now and I'm very creative and always with a positive response or thought .. sometimes I run as I can't deal with the negative - but usually I encourage others to think - that's a start!!

    Cheers Hilary

  2. Karen, this is one of my chief complaints, especially inthe early grades when they expect childrento conform to one way of learning, when there are so many creative ideas flowing.

    Re: clarification, seeking serious OR humorous stories, so send us something.

  3. I was lucky to have an English teacher encourage my writing, so no surprise I became an English teacher. I think we can all earn encouragement by being free in giving it. Even if you don't teach, sharing the blogasphere with other writers means we know plenty of people who could use some praise.

    I think our expectations of receiving encouragement should be balanced with accepting criticism gracefully - both are essential for us to improve.

    Great post, I'll read that article.


  4. I'm going to read that article. Didn't know that about Disney! Wow. I worry that I'm not creative enough!

  5. Reading and re-reading.

    He says up front: "The artist is not a special person, each one of us is a special kind of artist. Every one of us is born a creative, spontaneous thinker."

    We are made in the image of God. Therefore, we are creative beings. We need to claim that.

    It's also good to be reminded that even the most famous of the famous created some ho-hum work.

    Good stuff in here, Karen. Thanks!

  6. I come from a background where creativity was squashed to non-existence. I move country and I think looking back that it was a form of rebellion. These days I encourage the thinking outside the box and any spark of creativity in anybody.

    Thanks for sharing the article. Although I do not always comment, I find it reassuring that you are part of my circle of friends. Take care. xxx

  7. Hilary,
    I know, I can see why perhaps teachers (and even parents) don't encourage much creativity - time and knowledge to do so are big factors. I am glad you have a creative attitude now. I think that makes all the difference!

    Yes, I agree, and this is one of the many reasons I homeschooled my children. They all don't fit into one mold, do they? I hate seeing their creativity and natural curiosity stifled. Thanks for the info on the stories. Brainstorming as we speak. :)

    That is a blessing! There are wonderful teachers out there. I know it is hard for them to take time with each student, and that's another reason I think creative encouragement is lacking. And yes, absolutely, a balanced approach IS best!

    Hope you get something out of it! I didn't know about Disney either. :) I agree with Michalko; I think we need to see ourselves with the potential we really have. For the record, I think you are creative. We all are!

    That's a good point about the image of God! We do need to claim it and act on it, because it is true. Yes, I've done plenty of ho-hum myself, but it's nice to know it's part of the process. :)

    And see, looking at your photos and blog, I would think that you are extremely creative! So you overcame that hurdle quite nicely - and continue to do so. It is amazing what potential we have. Think of you often, my friend. Thanks for stopping by! xo


  8. I always was told by my mom that I was creative, but I never wrote. I always did a lot of art and in school my stuff would always get in the art shows. :)
    Will check out that artcile. Thx!

  9. Hi, Karen.

    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing it!

    I was so blessed to have a mom who encouraged my creativity. I think some writers get so lost in the craft that they miss opportunities to "write outside the box."


  10. Great article - one to print out for future inspiration. I think we also need to watch out for other things that block our imagination and stifle our creativity. Perfectionism is one that can keep us from reaching our full creativity potential. There is a wonderful book called "Be Your Own Creative Coach" that opened my eyes to so much about this topic. I think the author's name is spelled Kallstad. Dont' have it handy.
    Have a blessed week!

  11. Yes, several English teachers helped me feel that I had some talent in the writing department. I am grateful to them for their encouragement and for reading my material to the class.

  12. Really hoping to read this article.

    Both of my parents played a key role in fostering creative spirits in each of us children. Powerful examples.
    ~ Wendy

  13. Yes, several teachers encouraged me as did my awesome mother.

  14. Yes, my English teachers in high school and professors in college told me I wrote well, as did friends for whom I'd randomly write fictional stories.

    I just read Michalko's article. I can appreciate his points that creative thinking is work (indeed!) and to trust your instincts. His words are encouraging, and he cites some interesting tidbits about the greatest thinkers to back up his points.

    Thanks for sharing. Be well. :-)

  15. Jennifer,
    There are so many avenues for creativity, aren't there? I bet you were quite the artist! )

    You are so welcome. You were blessed indeed! I agree, we often need to think outside that box. :)

    Yes, I agree. I need to print it too. I think you're right, perfectionism is a hindrance. I'll have to check out that book, thanks!

    Hooray for good English teachers! I too, am very grateful! :)

    Hope you get a chance to read it. It's a blessing to have parents who think of that kind thing! :)

    What would we do without our Moms, right?

    It's so nice that they cared and took the time to encourage you. I know, I thought his points were good ones, and I enjoyed the tidbits about great thinkers. Good stuff.


  16. Hmmm, most people were against me, now that I think about it. Oh well, I pushed through and met my goals...and still am, despite the naysayers.

  17. I love Walt Disney's story. So inspiring! Maybe someday we'll create the Walt Disney World of books, Karen. Here's to hoping! :)

  18. In eighth grade then again in high school teachers (both of them were nuns) complemented me on my writing and encouraged me to continue. I'm glad they did and I listened to them because I can't draw or do anything else creative.

  19. My art teacher in high school was very supportive as well as some of my English teachers. Actually, my HS chemistry teacher was really supportive of me as a student, which ended up helping me in all different aspects of my life, including creatively.

  20. Cool! Thanks for pointing the way. I really am struggling lately as I've been under the weather. A nice creativity jumpstart would be appreciated!

  21. My high school English teacher made the biggest impact on me as a writer. She was encouraging, and her critiques were the best I've ever received in terms of really pointing out what I was doing right and wrong. Never under estimate the power of a teacher. She truly made me believe "I can."

  22. I didn't really have what you would call "a mentor" growing up, but I did write. People said encouraging things that prompted me to continue.

    My late husband was my biggest cheerleader. He gave me a push to attend my first writer's conference and start work on my manuscript.

    Now, my Mom and friends support my efforts.

    Susan :)

  23. Laura,
    Glad you pushed through and believed in your creativity! I think your soon to be released book may prove them wrong! :)

    Yes, I say that could be a good idea! You never know, right? :)

    I am so thankful for teachers who took the time to encourage. They really do help inspire!

    I'd say you are a multi creative person, that's for sure! Glad you had some inspiration!

    Hope the article helps inspire you and that you feel completely better soon!

    How wonderful! It's amazing what their comments can do for us, isn't it? :)

    It's always good to have a cheerleader or two or three. They can make all the difference!


  24. Karen:
    I will read the article when I have more time. It's late and I have a lot to do tomorrow.
    I'm afraid I didn't have a lot of encouragement when I was growing up. I tried to do the opposite with my son. He has a friend whose mother wasn't around after awhile. Roger called me a cheerleader. Then he added, "You're a mom, you're supposed to." It came back to haunt him when he was getting ready to move last year. I'm a mom, I can do it.

  25. Like you Karen, my English teachers (in school and college) were very encouraging. Maybe subconsciously I listened to them and started writing. But, my main love for writing came from my grandmother.

  26. Oh, boy. I love that example from Walt Disney! That juices me up. :) It's encouraging and freeing somehow to hear of others who plowed through setbacks and frustrations and just kept going.

    Thank you for that encouraging word today, Karen!

  27. I had a great deal of encouragement, and for now, I try to experience every moment to the fullest, and yet allow myself some time to imagine, daydream, and have fun with my writing. That helps boost my creativity. I'll go check out that article.

  28. Cecelia,
    Hope you enjoy the article when you are able to get there. It has great food for thought. Yes, I am sure you were a great cheerleader as a mom! :)

    It's nice you had encouraging teachers, but nicer still that your grandmother was supportive. How nice for you! :)

    I know, me too. I suspect someone was eventually eating their words, don't you think? You are so welcome! :)

    Good for you! I am sure that your attitude will carry over to your kids too. What a great thing, and what a great mom you are! :)


  29. One of Malcolm Gladwell's books (Outliers) shows that parental encouragement is a bigger indicator of success--more than intelligence. He looked at people like Steve Jobs and musicians, and so on. It all came down to practice and support.

  30. I, too, had encouraging English teachers. My fraternal grandmother liked to write and many said I took after her. That was motiviation too.

  31. Thank goodness, yes. My parents are both quite creative and definitely encouraged me! I'm very grateful to have had them as role models.

  32. Theresa,
    You know, I just read an article that cited a MI Dept. of Ed. study that said the same thing. They said parental involvement is super important.

    I think there are many good English teachers out there. How nice for you too, that your grandmother was a good example!

    How wonderful! It really can be a giant help, I think. :)


  33. I've always believed I'm a creative soul, but I've always been encouraged by others. :-)

    GREAT post, Karen. It's good to "see" you, Amigo!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day!