Why Creativity Can’t Be Taught

“What is creativity?

During my research I found there are about as many definitions of ‘creativity’ as there are people. For example:

Henry Rollins says: “Starting with nothing and ending up with something. Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in.”

Daniel Pink‘s definition is: “Giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing.”

The English Oxford Dictionary‘s definition is: “The use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”

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Now, according to ‘Psychology Today’ creativity cannot be taught. In 2011 they wrote, you can teach everyone how to use a hammer or knitting needles.

But knowing how to use a hammer or a knitting needle doesn’t make you creative. Visualizing, dimensionally manipulating or modeling the chairs you build in your mind’s eye won’t necessarily make you creative either. Whether material or mental, these tools just provide the techniques and materials that make creative outcomes possible.

Seven years ago many states started calling for tests to find out about the student’s creativity, Massachusetts and California ahead.

Psychology Today does believe that tools for imaginative and creative thinking can be exercised and that habits, behaviors and strategies within the creative process can be taught. But they don’t believe creativity itself can be taught.

Neither do I. Let’s take a look at the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I found many more quotes like these and each one of them included words like “imagination”, “fantasy”, “ideas”, “invention”, and “mind-wandering”. None of these habits would go with a person uninterested in inventing a creative process, creative thinking or any creative mind.

Wharton University of Pennsylvania wrote an article in 2014, about 4 feet long, including tons of complicated words, unnecessary studies and quotes, and at the end came to the conclusion that creativity cannot be taught. I had to read the post twice to be sure of the result. (Source: Wharton)

Monica Malhotra, Managing Director of the MBD Group, an interior designer and decorator without a technical degree, clearly declared in 2016: “Creativity cannot be taught to anyone. It’s a quality which is god-gifted. People can help you polish this quality but no one can imbibe it into someone,”

Even Steve Jobbs said: “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

How do you teach fantasy, imagination, vision and painting pictures in your head to someone? I believe it’s as simple as that: “You can’t.” I’m with Steve Jobbs and Monica Malhotra on that. Creativity is a God given talent that cannot be taught nor learned.

Share your opinion about this conclusion in the comments, please. I’m curious.

My Personal Top Ten Blogs For Non-Fiction


 

Lately, I had not much to do and was thinking about the blogs I follow. From A through Z there are blogs of fiction authors (yes, the one or other has written a book, based on a true story, of course!), but I don’t deny I prefer reading fiction.

There are several reasons for that. For once: there’s plenty of horrors, cruelness, blood, killing, and death around. I prefer reading about all this where I can be sure it never had happened.

And second: I’m an empath, reading true, sad and horrible stories make me cry like a puppy and getting nightmares occasionally.

Occasionally I like reading history and biographies. (Provided they’re not biographies of bloodsoaked dictators who should have died in jail in Den Haag… but that’s a story for another time.

While I’ve been thinking about non-fiction books I had to admit non-fiction writers don’t get plenty of attention from me – and definitely not enough recognition!

I spent days to research blogs that are written by non-fiction writers or dedicated to non-fiction books.

To me, the following are the best of the ones I found:

https://brevity.wordpress.com/

https://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/category/blog/

https://www.biographyonline.net/blog.html/

https://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/announcing-nonfiction-november-2018/

https://www.writermag.com/blog/interesting-nonfiction-books-fall-2018/

http://asuen.com/nonfictionmonday/

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/g19404777/best-nonfiction-books-2018/

https://www.bustle.com/p/10-nonfiction-books-about-other-books-because-the-history-of-literature-is-fascinating-10239943

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/non-fiction/

http://bookbloggerlist.com/category/non-fiction/non-fiction-biographies-memoirs/

 

I have to say I need to give non-fiction authors more credit than I did until now. Their work is as hard as ours and I wouldn’t want to go through all the research, the fact-checking and everything they have to come up with to make their book a success.

Let’s say they’re experts on something, or someone and write a book about it, one tiny mistake can ruin them forever. My respect, therefore, is extremely high!

Are you a non-fiction writer? Do you know a non-fiction writer? Let us hear about your/their writing process and how it is to work with facts more than relying on fantasy. Let us know. We’re curious.

Information Overload – Guest Post by, Aurora J. Alexander…

Today my guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog was published. Thanks so much, my Furry Friend, for giving me this chance!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

When I discover a beautiful picture, I very often catch myself standing there, sunken into the sight and just enjoying. And then, I realize, very slowly, that I picture some of my characters interacting right at this wonderful place.

In book 6 of my series, I have some of my characters meeting in a clearing which I had kept in my memory like a valuable treasure, only to remember it the moment I needed it and used it for this particular story. And there’s not much I can do than to describe what I see in front of my inner eye. I figure this is one of the things I love about reading: releasing my fantasy. If I read about scenery the writer describes, I picture it in front of me and try to look at it the way it feels comfortable and decent for me. Don’t give me too…

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A Sick Writer

By now I guess, it’s known that I have been sick for a few weeks, being ‘blessed’ with shingles and pneumonia to the same time. I could have done the one without both, but after all, I’m afraid, I had to take it the way it got me.

Now, being in pain and feeling sick, having a fever and not finding any comfortable position, I wasn’t able to do much more than drinking, resting, sleeping, watching TV and trying to keep my cats away from climbing on me.

And here exactly is the point I start complaining…

I’m a writer. A sick writer. And I would have loved to ‘use’ the time getting some work done. Typing, blogging, scribbling, planning new stories, reading and whatever else belongs to a writer’s life, but I had no chance.

Shingles caused me that much pain that all I could do was trying to find a way to spend the days on the couch with plenty of pain killers inside of me that nearly knocked me out. There was no way I would have been able to sit behind the computer and type much.

I was unable to turn onto my stomach to write by hand on paper. And when I tried to read I started feeling dizzy enough, I was ready to vomit.

I wanted to work, develop ideas, find new characters, plots, storylines, whatever came into my mind, and nothing was possible.

But of course I’m smart, right? I got my phone next to me. And whenever I had an idea, I recorded it. What a wonderful girl I am! The idea would have been amazing, if…

… yes, there’s an ‘if’…

… if, I hadn’t been too sick to make sense.

Yes, you can laugh. I did too once I listened to my ‘notes’. I was sick enough that I couldn’t hear much more than some mumbling. And if there was a clear word or two, it didn’t make sense.

My fever was high enough to cook my brain, which means, the ideas I got are entirely useless. This is annoying and nearly make me consider getting either a secretary, a nurse – or both.

I’m almost sure I’m not the only writer ever being sick. How are you doing this? Are you able to use your time fruitfully during this forced break? If yes, how are you doing it? Thank you for your advice!

Picture courtesy of wikimedia

How to add the license widget to your sidebar

A loyal reader of my blog asked me yesterday how I added the license widget to my sidebar. Since there might be others who are eventually interested in how to do that, I decided to take the time and publish a step-by-step guide.

Now: Please remember that you might have chosen another theme for your blog. Therefore don’t count on the image dimension or font size that’s given within this guide. These dimensions are for my blog and picture size to match the theme.

All right: Let’s get started:

 


1. Download the license .jpg to your computer picture library.

 

cc-by-nc-nd

 

 

 

2. Go to your WordPress “Admin” Page and click “Appearance”.

3. Then pick “Widgets” and scroll down to “Image”.

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4. Click on the “Image” button and drag it up to the sidebar. Place it where you want the license to appear.

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5. Click onto the “Image” button to open the widget, by using the “arrow” on the right side.

 

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6. Download the “license” image to your media file and add its URL to the sidebar.

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7. After downloading it, you got the “dimension” there which you can change by clicking the “Edit image” button.

8. The URL of the picture you can find direction underneath the “dimensions” on the right side. Copy and paste it into the widget.

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9. Add the license text to the “caption” of the sidebar. Adjust it where necessary, insert your name, your blog name and the year.

 

The works on this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.  ©…………………………………..(add your name) and ………………………………. (add your blog name), 20XX and following years. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited and violates copyright laws in the country you are reading this work in as well as in the country you are trying to re-publish this work in. Re-blogs are accepted if they are clearly linked to this blog and its respective post. ………………………………………(Add your name), 20XX

 

10. Change the picture size in the widget if necessary. You want it to fit into your blog theme. If you leave it empty, WordPress will adjust the image size and it might be over dimensionally blown up.

11. As soon as you’re done and completed the widget, don’t forget to SAVE your work and close it.

12. Last but not least: Go to your WordPress blog and open it. If done everything right, your Sidebar widget should look similar to this now:

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I hope this guide is of any use for new bloggers. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them, either in the comment section or by using the form widget in my sidebar, which will contact my email.

Have a fun and exciting “widget”-time!

Warm regards

A. J. Alexander