The Urge To Create: What Does It Mean To Be Creative?

by - July 19, 2016

To create something exceptional, your mindset must be 
relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.
Giorgio Armani

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I'm going to argue that the word 'creativity' and the word 'fuck' can be seen (and perhaps used) as synonymous to one another. Mind you, not literally in the definition-sense of the word, but literally seen from a symbolic point of view.

Creativity is a funny little word. It can be used in almost every context, every landscape it encounters -and therewith being anything but little. A bit like the word fuck (with emphasis on 'a bit'), creativity and its many appearances (i.e. from being creative to actually creating something) can become meaningless over time and still bear so much significance with it. As demonstrated by the many ways fuck can be used within a sentence (e.g. "Fuck is probably the only fucking word that can be put every fuckingwhere and still make fucking sense", to demonstrate: "fuck you, you fucking fuck"), rarely actually meaning or directly referring to the act of, well, fucking, but -as we all mostly understand when being confronted with it- as a swear word. And in some cases the word fuck is just being used to fill up an otherwise empty space.

It's on the internet where the most important questions are being asked. Hugo -if that's his real name- wondered if there's "a succinct word for the 'itch' to do something creative? For example having a niggle in your brain where only doing something creative can make it go away?"

And it's also on the internet where the most valuable suggestions are being given to answer these questions. So, is there a word for the urge to do something creative? Well... : Procreative, insanity, inspiration (although the submitter thinks that it's a different idea, rather something that leads to the urge of doing something creative), stricken by the muse, creative drive, creative frenzy or variations on that with fervor and fever, creative impulse, the more poetic creative stir, which leads us almost inevitably back to just creative urge. It's in the question, really.

So is there a succinct word for the 'itch' to do something creative? Well, not really would be my answer. It all depends on how you approach this creative drive in the first place. The actual question that needs to be asked first might not be the word we're looking for, but the definition we attach to it. As FumbleFingers (lovely username) rightfully stated: "Define 'being creative'. How does the urge to be creative differ from a more general urge to do something?" You've got me there, FumbleFingers! So what's the distinction between the 'creative process' and the 'doing process'?

Believe it or not, but there's no one who's come up with a 'doing process'. Yet. Yes, 'to do' is often being mentioned within other processes or cycles (for instance: Kolb's learning cycle, to do: learning by experience). You could say that doing therefore can be seen as a step to get closer to something, but not the actual goal to achieve (tell that to all us procrastinators... *sigh*). You can show your creativity through doing something. Knitting a jumper, writing a book or idk painting chewing gum. "What's important is the creative process", said the chewing gum painter, but not a word is being spoken about the actual 'doing'. Because -and this is my guess- the 'doing' part is often being included within the idea of the 'creative process', it's part of it -by doing you 'visualize' the creativity (which can lead you to painting chewing gum).

There are however surprisingly (or better said: suprisingly to me) a lot of different cycles of creativity. It apparently happens to be a vivid research topic -or better said: research question- within philosophy, psychology and most probably some other subjects ending with -y. To get a good idea of creativity, we'll be needing some definitions... Within defining the definition of creativity, there's a distinctive difference made between 'creativity' and 'creative thinking'. The two are definitely linked to one another and one could claim intertwined, but they aren't the same thing. Or at least, they can be seen as two separate -yet intertwined- things (confusing, I know).

the bringing into being of something which did not exist before, either as a product, a process or a thought
 OR the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work

Both definitions are very similar. Both say that creativity produces something 'which did not exist before' and is thus 'original'. In the first definition there's no talk about how this is being done and emphasis on the result of creativity, namely 'a product, a process or a thought'. The second definition does state that creativity is made out of 'imagination' and 'original ideas' which 'especially' leads to 'the production of an artistic work'. Or maybe it's even the basis of the production of an artistic work. Artistic work thus can't be made without creativity. Which makes you wonder what 'artistic' actually entails, according to Google:

having or revealing natural creative skill. OR relating to or characteristic of art and artists. 
OR aesthetically pleasing

Which brings us to art:

the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically visual form such as 
painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. 
OR the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance

As I stated earlier, the visualization or the actual imaging of 'creativity' is blindly seen as being part of the 'creative process'. Creativity produces a product, process or thought which is being shown through the making of something -most probably art or artistic. Important to note are the different uses of creativity ('creative skill', 'creative activity') which makes the art/artistic products. And therewith not to forget the most overpowering word: imagination.

the faculty of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses OR 
the ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful OR the part of the mind that imagines things

(last definition most definitely being the most accurate yet most unexplanatory definition ever. What's imagination? That's when you imagine things. Seriously?).

Am I the only one who feels like walking in circles?

May it be clear that creativity in this sense is mostly seen from an active point of view. Creativity is seen as being part of producing something (through actually doing something to imagining something -which is essentially doing something but not visualizing it -to some extent). I personally think that being creative doesn't necessarily always have to be dependend or meaningful when it's actually 'performed' or 'done'. You can also be creative in a more passive manner, where there doesn't need to be a process going on of actually making this creativity visible in anyway (mental creativity is still creativity, right?!). And that's where the 'creative thinking' comes in.

Creative thinking
the process which we use when we come up with a new idea;
It is the merging of ideas which have not been merged before

Sounds familiar, right? Creative thinking has many similarities to the above mentioned words and definitions (especially imagination). Creative thinking isn't necessarily been made 'public' through visualization -however according to the first definition of creativity, this also doesn't always have to be the case in that sense (creativity can be shown through thoughts). Central to creative thinking however is the 'merging of ideas'...

a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action OR the aim or purpose

Important within this definition are the words 'suggestion' and 'possible'. It's a sign of uncertainty. It's just an idea, it's just something that came from my imagination, creative thinking, a thought. Which can bring us to creativity and therefore perhaps the creation of art or something artistic, but doesn't necessarily have to. So the difference between the urge of just 'doing' and 'being creative' is that the one is part of the other. Doing is part of being creative, creating thereby being directly linked to that 'process' (however, as you can see in the definition below, without the pressure of it needing to be original or it relying on imagination).

bring (something) into existence.

a thing that is unspecified or unknown OR used in various expressions indicating that a description or amount being stated is not exact OR used for emphasis with a following adjective function as an adverb 
OR to some extent; somewhat

the fact or state of living or having objective reality

the activities in which a particular person engages

a strong desire or impulse OR try earnestly or persistently to persuade (someone) to do something

an act of sexual intercourse OR have sexual intercourse with (someone) 
OR ruin or damage something OR used alone or as a noun or a verb in various phrases 
to express anger, annoyance, contempt, impatience, or surprise, or simply for emphasis

Creativity is a bit like the word fuck. It can be used in anyway, it can refer to anything, it can actually be anything and also nothing; who decides what's original and how do we know if the merging of our ideas have not been merged before? It's meaningless and significant at the same time. However, unfortunately, creativity is not as adaptive in its use within a sentence. Which is actually quite ironic since it can be described as a 'creative way' to incorporate the word fuck in such excess capacity...


What I'm Wearing: Blouse - Made by me / Skirt - Jil Sander / Bag - Vintage / Necklace: Vintage / Belt: Gift from my aunt / Hat - Primark (old) / Shoes - H&M (old) /
Sources: 1 / 2 / 3

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  1. I'm obsessed with this look ! You look gorgeous ! Just discovered your blog, but I already know I'll be spending plenty of time here !

  2. You look amazing!!!!
    And if you had a lot of fun making this pictures..... :)

    love, Marjan

    1. Thank you! I've got the best photographer (she can make anything fun)... ;)