There are so many definitions of creativity given in literature that it’s hard to pinpoint a single definition and say, “This is it!” Torrance (1962) defines creativity as the process of sensing gaps or missing elements and forming ideas or hypotheses concerning them.
This means that if you’re creative, you can see where something doesn’t exist and you might have ideas on how to close that “gap.” Most people define creativity as the ability to produce new responses that are appropriate in context and valued by others.
In other words, in order to be creative, you have to make something new that other people find valuable. You can be sure that different people will find different creations valuable, so the novelty and value aspect of it may be dynamic.
Creative people tend to think in a divergent rather than a convergent way. If you think in a divergent way, your thinking is linked to creativity, because you’re coming up with ideas and thinking outside the box about things that don’t just have one answer.
You don’t just automatically do things the way you were taught to do them; you might solve problems in new ways. For example, you may cut a coffee can in half, smooth the edges and use that as a cake pan if you don’t have a cake pan in your kitchen. The convergent thinker can’t do that because there is only one correct way to do things.
You can stimulate your creativity in many different ways. One of the easiest ways is exposing yourself to the unknown, which will put you in new situations that force you to think outside the box to get by.
The ideas you have may also be stimulated by the environment around you, so it may be a good idea to go outdoors and see new things around you.
Your creativity may be blocked if you do the same thing every day, so switching up your routine will also inspire you. You can even try a new food in a new place to stimulate your creativity.
If you’ve been working on a creative project for hours and you’re feeling creatively drained, step back from the project for a while. Take a bubble bath or a nap, take a walk outside, call your mother and hear how she’s doing.
Distract yourself, but don’t stress yourself. A barrier to creativity may also be that you are concerned about what other people think of your ideas. You have to completely forget about the opinions of others, and just follow your own intuition about what you feel you should do.
Photo credit Corey Barksdale