Why are we creative? What drives us to create? Where does inspiration come from?

Creativity is one of the distinct traits that characterises us as humans. A varied group of us sat down to discuss exactly what it’s like. We ranged from professional writers, dancers, fashion enthusiasts, painters, art teachers and people with their own personal creative projects.

What is the purpose of creativity?

  • In essence creativity is finding different solutions to problems. ‘Thinking outside the box’ gives us a wider perspective of a problem and helps us find more ways of solving it. From untangling misunderstandings we have in relationships to simple things like finding ‘creative’ ways of fitting food in a limited space of a small fridge, creativity can be expressed in seemingly uncreative environments.
  • We are usually more critical towards our own work than other people’s. Some of the group felt that everyone has a little streak of creativity within them, while others’ believed that creative people are rare. In today’s society creativity is cool and ‘fashionable’. People nowadays seem to think they create art just by taking a selfie and putting it through a pre-prepared filter.


Why do we create?

  • Many said that the process of creating is inspired by overwhelm. They express this overload on paper, canvas or into another art form and this helps to provide relief and a space to process everything. 
  • Some of us just get random moments of inspiration and feel it is important to release them into the world. In this case it is not conscious, we don’t decide to be creative; it comes from within and is a part of who we are.
  • Many also mentioned that creating gives us a sense of productivity and liberates us from feeling guilty for wasting time.


What’s the creative process like?

  • It definitely helps to have a time limit to give us a push – after all, often the biggest revelations seem to come the night before the deadline.
  • Sometimes it is a good idea to go searching for inspiration, such as taking a walk in the park and keeping your mind and eyes wide open. If you are focusing on a particular project for a longer period of time, little lights of inspiration seem to pop up in the right direction.
  • Many of us agreed that best ideas seem to come to us at 3 am, when we are trying to sleep but our minds are still very active. When this happens we get out of bed and write the ideas down so they’re not lost by morning.
  • The road between the idea and the end product is long and bumpy. It takes a lot of discipline to bring it to existence. It might help you to have a workspace – a place you always use for creating, somewhere comfortable and safe. It can be as simple as having a desk in your apartment where you can sit and let your mind run free. Or maybe it is not a specific place, maybe it is about the right type of atmosphere and can be wherever you are. Then again, sometimes the best ideas come up when you are in the shower! It also seems that doing repetitive tasks, such as dish washing, that keep your hands busy and your mind free, are good for activating your creativity.
  • Some people have one specific medium for their ideas, such as painting or writing, while other people prefer to focus on a certain topic and use different mediums for exploring it. Either way, we need patience to keep constantly improving our work until we are completely satisfied.


What makes our artwork successful?

  • In some cases we can measure our success straight away – just getting emotions and anxieties out in a creative form can make us feel better instantly, and that in itself can be a success.
  • Distancing yourself from your work and looking back on it after a few days helps you see it more objectively. In fact, often you may be surprised by your own creative genius!
  • Some of us prefer to measure success by the body of our work and not individual pieces. When you look at each pieces of work individually it can put a lot of pressure on them, especially if you’re a perfectionist, but if you look at the body of work as a whole you no longer need to be a perfectionist.
  • It is important to work on things that excite us at the time. Use that excitement and motivation as a driver to explore without overanalysing why we’re exploring it. We need to trust ourselves – we don’t need to have perfect skills to create, we just need to do it and see where it leads us.
  • We spoke about the concept of “pure creativity” which is creating with no goal or desire for big success. Some revealed that they cannot create anything without a goal in mind while others told us they create simply because it feels right.
  • Feedback helps us to improve and we should never dismiss positive feedback by focusing too much on becoming better and better.
  • Being creative and analysing need to be kept separate, for example creating during the week and editing in the weekend. Like Hemingway apparently suggested, you should write drunk and edit sober. 


But I’m just not that talented

  • Talent can be a misleading word people use as an excuse to not create. The general opinion is that talent isn’t something you’re born with, but something that is grown and developed over time. For example, it takes time to learn the skill to read or write, and it’s the same with acquiring and defining all of our “talents”.
  • With so many creators and with the internet being this giant, worldwide platform for displaying work, came the question haven’t all ideas been used before? Aren’t all the stories that could be written already out there somewhere? In response to this we discussed that perhaps ideas themselves are universal and a lot of people can think of the same ones, but it is our different interpretations of them that create art.


We ended our discussion by collecting some pieces of advice for creative minds from our participants:

  • Notice things that stop you from creating
  • Push doubts away and trust yourself
  • Take ego out of the equation – focus on the task without forcing it; think in the way that “something is going to happen and you are just there to see it unravel”
  • Don’t be too much of a perfectionist. Notice when you’re asking too much of yourself.
  • Listen to advice that you would give others
  • Don’t focus on what has already been done, but bring your perspective to life.


This event was hosted in Ljubljana Ziferblat – 20th October

Every few weeks we get together to discuss a different, very human topic. Visit our Facebook to be involved in the next one.

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