After working and hanging out with painters, musicians, writers, actors, designers, photographers and creative folks of all kind for years, I’ve noticed seven qualities that creative minds share:
1. Curious. You ask lots of questions, pose dilemmas and create alternative scenarios. You’re always wondering about things, what happened and why. This makes sense, because creativity is all about adventure and trying new things: what will happen if I kill this character here? What if I add more green there? A favorite phrase is, “What if?” Creative minds are always open to new possibilities.
2. Observant. You hear things that others don’t. It’s a listening between the lines for echos of desire, whispers of regret, wisps of anger. You see color and texture and pattern where others see none. You take what you hear, the emotions you sense and find a home for it in your creative work, everything from a look, a gesture, a tone or a snippet of dialogue can inspire you.
3. Persistent. You have to be. How else to explain how any creative work gets done? Creative minds understand the need to “sit butt in chair” and work, to keep pushing the boundaries of ideas until fresh perspective peeks through. You know that an answer to the creative conundrum will appear if you just keep showing up to the table/the stage/the studio and trying.
4. Humble. You have to be. When you do creative work, you understand that some days will be more creative than others. When you understand that creativity is a gift that must be nurtured because talent is only 5% of the equation and hard work is 95%, it tends to make you realize how human we all are, how fragile and hopeful. We are all waiting for something to happen.
5. Nurturing. You recognize the seeds of good ideas and understand that they need time and space to grow. You are wiling to wait for the idea to take shape as you cook, doodle, brainstorm, listen to music, go for a run or whatever else it is you do when you let your creative mind’s eye simmer in the background.
6. Good wit. Creative people are funny people. Maybe it’s because they’re happy pursuing their creative work. It’s fun to go that zone where the world falls away and you become lost in the character, the words, the look, the feel of your work. Creativity is about play, and playing is fun.
7. Good with solitude. One of the most important qualities that I’ve seen in creative people is comfort with being alone. While some creative work can be done in a group, there is always some aspect that requires solitude. Creative minds crave time alone to think, plan, dream, inspire.
Which qualities fit you? What other qualities would you add? How can you enhance these qualities in yourself?