“When I think of the wisest people I know, they share one defining trait: curiosity. They turn away from the minutiae of their lives-and focus on the world around them. They are motivated by the desire to explore the unfamiliar. They are drawn toward what they don’t understand.” Dani Shapiro, Still Writing
Original. Surprising. Fresh. Unexpected. These are some of the words we use to describe creativity, that elusive quality we all crave and chase as writers. What do we “need” to create, to be creative in our work? While there’s no single wellspring from which creativity flows, research suggests, not surprisingly, that creative people seem to share a complex system of traits. A recent feature in Discover Magazine called “Creativity:Igniting the Spark” by Lacy Schley captured three core assets that creative people have in common:
“Low Latent Inhibition Levels – Creative people usually aren’t so great at ignoring things that are irrelevant to the task at hand. It’s likely thanks to their brains. Several studies show that creative types tend to have low levels of a certain kind of dopamine receptor… Having fewer of those receptors probably means the thalamus filters out less information, so there’s more information available to make unusual connections – a hallmark of creativity.”
“An Inner Drive to Create – Being passionate about something often leads to related creative ideas. Research supports the notion that if you pursued your childhood passions into adulthood, you’re more likely to test high on creativity measures. But simply being enthralled with something isn’t enough – you also need hard work to make it over the hurdles that inevitably crop up during the creative process.”
“An ‘Open’ Personality – Perhaps the most important factor that leads to creativity is how open to experiences you are. People who score high in this personality trait are more likely to want to try new things and to be curious, perceptive, imaginative, intellectual, and naturally, more creative. In fact, a 2013 study from the Journal of Creative Behavior supports the idea that openness to experience can be more important to creativity than IQ. And the more open you are, the more opportunities exist for inspiration to strike and fuel an innovative idea.”
OK, we’re good! Being easily distracted and information gatherers, having an inner compulsion to create, and being open to new experiences and curious. As writers, we have everything we need to fan the flame of creativity and get to the next level. So let’s fire up our ability to make connections, our compulsion to create, and our curiosity and we’re good to go! Emboldened by this exciting truth – let’s all write on!