I’ve always wanted to write about a mad librarian.
Well, that’s probably a lie, but it’s hard to tell since I lie for a living. I’ve always admired librarians and wished I could spend my days surrounded by books—except librarians have to endure the demanding public as well. And that would make me insane—hence, the mad librarian.
That’s how creativity works. We recently had a discussion on the historical romance blog the Word Wenches on whether we develop our characters from real people, and the answer was a pretty conclusive no…but. Creative people often claim they rely on their “muses” or the “voices in their head” to develop their art, mostly because we don’t have any comprehension of how our brains put together two and two and come up with mad librarians. After reading several intellectual tracts from psychologists, business people, and scientists, I’ve concluded no one else can explain it better either, but their theories make for entertaining reading.
In Psychology Today, the article concludes that creative thinkers have unique abilities to be both focused and unfocused, playful but disciplined, intelligent but not too intelligent, naïve but grounded…and yeah, they’re probably right for a few billion people on this planet. I’m not seeing my introversion/extroversion as particularly unique. Personally, I think they’re just saying we’re crazy, which is what most people think about creatives, and they’re maybe half-right. What we have is a unique way of putting pieces of reality together and creating fantasy, which makes us dreamers.
The Wall Street Journal, of course, looks at Steve Jobs as creative—so very not my form of creativity! Jobs or the guy who invented Post-it notes would never come up with mad librarians any more than I could come up with a computer design. This article says we’ve proved that creativity isn’t genetic—directly opposed to the Psychology Today experts. I agree with the part that says all humans are creative, depending on how you want to define creative. A bear that picks up a rock to smash open a seashell is inventive, which is what I’d call Jobs and other technicians. They’re creating a new form of reality out of several old forms, but they’re not creating fantasy by a long shot. The part I like in this article is where he says creativity is essentially what I just said above– drawing together distantly related information and creating something new. Of course, this article also recommends booze and hot baths, so it can’t be all wrong.
Mostly, these articles don’t tell me how I developed the contemporary California Malcolms out of my historical witches and scientists. Nor do they tell me how I created a romance between a mad librarian and a car mechanic. I certainly don’t have any of those pieces of reality in my life and I don’t do booze. What I would like those articles to tell me is to how to create entertaining marketing campaigns for my wild flights of fantasy, but I think I’d need a brain and personality transplant.
So my completely naïve but disciplined advice for anyone who wants to be more creative is to go out and live life, then think about it while reading a good book and taking a hot bath. Works for me.
And if you want to read about Magnus Oswin and Nadine Malcolm, the latest edition to my Malcolm chronicles, my brand new e-release RISK OF LOVE AND MAGIC is now available here at Book View Café and other outlets. And anyone signed up for my newsletter as of July 30 will be eligible for a drawing for an Amazon gift certificate. I don’t spam your mailboxes, just let you know when a new book is coming out, so you can get the special offers and BVC coupons delivered directly to your mailbox—if my smart-but-not-too-smart brain remembers to send it, anyway.
How do you define creativity? Do you have a special method you employ to solve problems? And if it’s booze, what kind? <G>