I am excited to be talking to the grade 6 girls at Haileybury this week about creativity and creative writing. Not only is it great to meet some of my readers, but it is also great to crack one of the biggest myths around about creativity - that children and adults think that they are not creative, that only a few special people, like artists, are.
Before we dive into this, I think it's important to first understand what creativity is. Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality - this can be tangible (something you can touch) or intangible (can't touch, like an idea). Creativity is not just coming up with the idea, it's doing something with that idea - turning it into something.
So, why is creativity important? There are so many reasons, and I am just going to touch on a couple of the biggies. Creativity helps us invent, imagine, create and communicate in fresh, new ways. It makes the world seem more vibrant, fulfilling and interesting. Stop for a second and imagine a world where there is no creativity. Gasp! I know, it's not worth talking about. And, the other big reason as to why creativity is so important is because it helps bring innovation and solve problems – both big and small. The world is changing quickly and more than ever, we need people who can think differently and solve these problems.
Every industry requires creative thinkers in the form of scientists, engineers, medical researchers, technology innovators, business entrepreneurs, artists, performers, writers and illustrators, designers, inventors, educators and parents. Those with the ability to "think outside of the box" will lead the future and make special things happen.
So, now we understand what creativity is and why it's so important, we can start to crack that myth that only a few special people are creative. If that was the case, why does our world contain the most beautiful buildings, churches, monuments, some historic, some new? Why are we able to cure diseases? Why are we living in a time when technology is leaping forward in ways we never dreamed possible? You see, we are already creative - coming up with new and imaginative ways of doing things and doing something about it. That means, every single one of us has the capacity and opportunity to be creative, whatever we are doing.
But, this is a big but, no one said it was going to be easy. Everyone is born naturally creative, but to make the most of our creativity, it must be given: opportunity, encouragement, training, motivation and most of all, practice. Everyone knows Mozart reached an incredibly high level of achievement in his field, but did you know he devoted thousands of hours of serious training and it was 16 years before he produced an acknowledgment of his work. I can attest to this personally, after spending the last 11 years writing, starting out as very average, and am sure I still have more to learn. It's important to remember that while creativity requires imagination and inspiration, it also requires critical thinking and evaluation. If you look at some of the people we most respect for their creative achievements, it's because of the extraordinary insights, breakthroughs, and discipline they have brought to their work.
Now that we have cracked the code on creativity, it does beg the question, how can we become more creative. What can we do? Well, I have been lucky enough to ask different groups of students, the future of our world, this very question, and I think that you will find their answers both inspiring and achievable.
So, now it's your turn. Challenge your own self-belief and go forth create and do. The world is yours to discover and help make into a better place.