What is creativity?

One of the most perplexing things you’ll discover if you ever decide to tackle the creativity theory literature is just how many different definitions there are of what creativity actually is.

I won’t bore you with all the different angles I’ve encountered – it’s actually beside the point, because each of us has to come to our own decisions about that question as part of exploring our creative selves. But it is entirely possible that you and I will have different definitions, and this could lead to frustration when I start talking about it in one way, and you start disagreeing with what I’m saying. So in an effort to forestall some of that stress, I’ll just tell you how I think about it. You, of course, can feel free to think about it differently.

In my view, creativity in art is the human capacity to create new and valuable artistic ideas in the context of other, existing ideas.

When I say “new,” I mean new to you, the artist who has the idea.

When I say “valuable,” I mean that the idea strikes you as being worth pursuing.

And when I refer to the “context of existing ideas,” I mean that you are judging the value of your idea with respect to some known genre or style.

So, to recap, the point of this site will be to share ideas that I hope will help you come up with more or better new ideas in your chosen field. Sounds like a simple goal, huh? Now all I have to do is deliver.

But enough about me and my intentions. I’m just a part of this community, and I’m sure my readers have as much to tell me as I have to tell them. So what about it? Do you have a different take on how creativity works for you? If so, tell me about it in the comments below. I’m all ears.

What creativity is not

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.