Curiosity's role in Creativity

This is a contemplation I wrote for class on June 13, 2016.

I recently read an article [1] about a book called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert [2]. Elizabeth Gilbert is also the author of "Eat, Pray, Love", in case that helps you understand who I'm talking about. I'm also in the process of reading the book, but I though this article helped summarize things.

I'm a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert; she always writes her stories from the heart. Not that they are cheesy, but I mean they are authentic. She puts aside her fears of what others may think of her and just writes. She writes about her experiences, her thought processes, her own self-reflections. She spends time thinking about where she's been and how she got to where she is now and wants to help others reach their own creative freedom, like she's found for herself.

That leads me to this book (or rather, the article about this book). One of the very first points she makes is about what it means to be a creative person. And I think she makes a fantastic point. Most people walk around saying "I'm not creative". However, Elizabeth Gilbert believes that everyone is creative. She says "If you're alive, you're a creative person". Her point is that so many people put this impossible stigma around creativity. That you need to do it for a living, that you need to win awards in it, etc. But when you think about it, being creative is just a way to say someone is willing to try something new, try something a little differently. She tells the reader to replace the word "creative" with the word "curious". Are you a curious person? Because, again, it's just about the willingness to try something, explore something.

It's not just about the arts either. Think of all the scientific discoveries over the centuries. Someone, at some point, asked "what happens if I do this"?

So the next time you're stumped, next time you feel like you're not creative, give yourself permission to explore, to be curious, because that's what creativity comes down to, curiosity and the willingness to try.

  1. "Fear is boring, and other tips for living a creative life",
  2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert