I never took a creative writing class in school–it was never an option. I didn’t even know it was a thing. Sure I had Art once a week where we would do a little bit of painting here, a little bit of sculpting there. (Those are the only good memories I have of school.) But even in the US and the UK, where creative writing is a thing, it’s optional.
I think some form of creativity class should exist everywhere and it should be compulsory every year, from my first to my last. It’s silly to think that only artists need to exercise their imagination. How much more talented doctors, managers, scientists and politicians would we raise if studying creativity was non-negotiable? Imagine doctors who consistently come up with better and cheaper ways to treat illnesses. Managers who get things done and keep their employees motivated and keep their clients happy, all at the same time. Scientists who think of the most effective methods for running research experiments with fewer trials and errors. Politicians who can maybe, possibly, find better solutions than war. And even parents who are better at parenting.
There are also plenty of immediate benefits of teaching creativity to children, such as:
- Creativity classes, in which the child would be required to stop thinking for a minute and just do something, would give his brain a much needed break half-way through a week of math and biology and history and chemistry. And:
- Some macho boys (and girls) will think creativity is childish and stupid, and they will make fun of the tasks they’re given. They will make jokes and use the materials you gave them for the project to make silly things. And that’s even better! The most creative and brilliant ideas come from having fun.
Usually, people hear ‘creativity’ and they instantly think of art galleries and fantasy books and Star Wars. Even dictionaries can’t give a proper definition. Cambridge English Dictionary describes creativity as “the ability to produce original and unusual ideas, or to make something new or imaginative.”
Yeah, that describes the outcome of having creative skills, not the skill itself or how it works.
I think creativity is entirely, one hundred per cent, a problem solving skill. It’s not that creativity improves problem solving, or that problem solving improves creativity. It’s that creativity and problem solving are the same thing. Synonyms. If creativity is at 90 per cent, then problem solving is at 90 per cent too. Because whatever creative task I’m working on, I am always trying to solve some kind of problem. Maybe I’m trying to come up with a business idea that’s innovative and has potential in today’s market (problem: need a business idea that hasn’t been created before). Maybe I’m working on a painting of trees, swinging in the wind (problem: need to reflect their brisk movements on an inanimate canvas). Maybe I’m a toddler, grabbing onto any surface and pushing myself up, learning how to walk (problem: need to learn to walk). Or maybe I spend 8 hours a day at work, copy-pasting data into the company’s system (problem: need to find a way to make that repetitive task fun, before I lose my mind).
I simply cannot think of any examples of creative work that doesn’t come from the need to solve some kind of problem.
And here’s another interesting fact. Now that you know that creativity is nothing more than problem solving, which you have been doing every day for the past forever, bringing some creativity into your life doesn’t seem so scary, does it? Because you already can.