BEING CREATIVE IS GOOD FOR YOU
By Steve Cooke
Creativity derives from the Latin creare, to make and is most often associated with the arts and culture. It is believed to have first appeared in the 14th-Century literary work, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
Creativity, according to Maya Angelou, is a bottomless pit: "The more you use it, the more you have.”
"Creativity is intelligence having fun," is a phrase often attributed to Einstein.
Hailed by the New York Times as 'The Queen of Change', Julia Cameron is credited with starting a movement in 1992 that has brought creativity into the mainstream conversation - in the arts, in business, and in everyday life.
"Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy – pure creative energy," is the first of 10 basic principles to be found in Julia Cameron's bestselling creative guide, For Julia Cameron, there is no "creative elite"; we are all creative, she says. It has become her life's work to teach the many thousands from all creative fields who come to her artistically hampered by the demons of self-doubt and self-criticism or claiming lack of time or talent.
"Many blocked people are very powerful and creative personalities who have been made to feel guilty about their own strengths and gifts," she says. Her "bedrock of creative recovery" prescription is to write "morning pages" – three pages of stream-of-consciousness longhand writing accomplished on rising, "when our rational, self-editing mind gets out of the way of intuitive inclination". The pages "develop our creativity and encourage belief in our potential," she says. "They are non-negotiable." "The artist date" is her second tool; a weekly experience to thrill, that "woos your inner artist", such as a visit to the zoo or buying crayons.
The writer Elizabeth Gilbert acknowledges Julia Cameron's influence on her.
Gilbert explored creativity in her 2015 book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. She was inspired to write it having met so many people who complained they were creatively blocked. Their main problem, she concluded, is "always and only [to do with] fear – tumbling piles of fear".
"Creativity will always provoke your fear," says, who has come to terms with her own artistic anxiety by "talking to it in a friendly way… I acknowledge its importance and I invite it along". Equally, we should allow, or even embrace, our mistakes. Being imperfect is fine. Perfectionism is "the murderer of all things good".
There has never been a more important time to be creative.