“I do not seek. I find.”
Something to ponder: At one time, studies were conducted to discover if there were any genetic or environmental characteristics that could be linked to creativity. Researchers looked at a host of factors, from I.Q. and education to socioeconomic background. Here’s what they found: the only factor that correlated in any way with creativity was the individual’s belief that he or she was creative. People who believe they are creative are creative. It’s that simple.
That’s why claiming our creativity is so important.
This rang through loud and clear at “Unlocking Creativity: Inspire, Develop, Contribute” — a wonderful panel hosted by the Columbia Alumni Association.
Among the speakers was Kiran Desai, the author of The Inheritance of Loss, which won the 2006 Man Booker Prize, among others.
Kiran talked very candidly about spending almost a decade after college just reading and struggling to write. Her family was anxious about her and kept urging her to find a job, any job, so that she could have some sort of real life. But Kiran resisted. She just kept reading and writing. It wasn’t easy. “A novel is a big thing, a messy thing, you can’t really talk about it, you don’t know what you’re doing,” she said. And yet, “when you’re managing to write well, the barriers between your work and the world come down. All roads lead to your work.”
We all face times when other people question why we’re striving to write and when we wonder ourselves whether it makes sense to continue. It’s in these moments that we have to dare to demand of ourselves what we really want. It’s in these moments that we need to honor our compulsion to write and claim our creativity. It’s there, waiting for us: no one can give it to us and no one can take it from us. It’s ours for the asking — or the abandoning. Let’s choose wisely.