There’s a funny story which has been circulating for years, about how NASA scientists tried to solve the problem of getting a ballpoint pen to work in space. They spent a huge amount of money on this problem.
In the end, Soviet scientists solved the problem by using a pencil.
This is a classic example of creative thinking, or as corporate speak puts it, ‘thinking outside of the box’.
Human beings are notorious for tapping in to creativity and producing amazing things as a result. You only have to wander through some of our finest capital cities, globally, to see the effect which creativity has on the essence of what it means to be human.
Art galleries, museums, concert halls and film studios are overflowing with a continual stream of bright, talented people seeking to find ways to vent their creativity.
And for as many people out there who have something to create, there are an equal number of people who enjoy the results of the creative process.
Every time we sit down and read a book, admire a beautiful work of art or hum along to our favourite song, we’re reaping the benefits of the human will to create.
Blogging is the same.
Without this strange compulsion which people have to express themselves, the internet wouldn’t have blogs. Instead, we’d be reading lists and manuals rather than laughing and building up great online relationships.
Just like any other media, blogging takes an element of creative spirit to make it flourish.
Can you remember when you were a child, and you used to play alone?
You’d use anything — kitchen utensils, crayons, sand — to produce something.
Whether or not you were doing something which your parents could understand, you still knew naturally how to create, and that the act itself was important.
As we get older, this creative spirit gets dulled down by work, paying bills, and being responsible. Instead of sitting down to draw a picture, adults need to clean the house, or deal with the finances.
We don’t get many opportunities to play anymore.
This explains why hobbies such as dolls house renovation or pottery still hold wide appeal — they provide legitimate platforms for people to express themselves. Because we’re not supposed to climb trees, paint pictures in the sand or go wild with a tub of paint anymore, we find reasonable alternatives instead.
Most people get scared when they are asked to be creative.
If you were handed a bunch of crayons at work and asked to draw a picture, the chances are you’d find it hard to do it without feeling self-conscious.
Similarly, for most people, the thought of being told to write a poem or a story fills them with dread. This is because as time goes on, most of us forget that basic innate skill and start worrying.
What will people think if we’re caught playing? What would happen if the results of our creativity got judged or laughed at?
It’s a horrible thought, and usually enough to put us off playing in favour of doing productive things that don’t carry any risk of exposure.
The only people who harness their creative power perfectly seem to be musicians, writers and artists. Somehow, making noise, writing stories and painting pictures have slipped past the net of disapproval and are (mostly) considered to be legitimate ways of expressing ourselves.
Artists like Banksy have pushed the boundaries, making it acceptable to scrawl on walls.
The Turner Prize is always full of artists who are claiming back their childlike imagination and thrusting it forward for everyone to see.
While these people may be judged on their artistic merit, they’re not judged for what is, essentially, playing.
Here’s the thing…
Every single one of us, however staid, old or cynical, still has an urge to create. People who write music or stories start to fidget if they are taken away from their tools for too long. We all crave, inside, the ability to be able to let off steam, and show our emotions, through artistic expression in one form or another.
People who whistle in the shower, decorate cakes, or design their living room so it looks how they want it are all creating in their own way.
We don’t lose the power to express ourselves, we just shove it away with our embarrassing childhood pictures and tell it to shut up when it starts clamouring to be let out.
If you were let loose in a big white room now, with eight tins of paint and a promise that no-one would see the result, how would you react?
I don’t think you’d decorate it beautifully, with neat edges and perfect borders. More likely, if you’re like me, you’d roll up your sleeves and go for it, flinging paint on the walls and quite possibly rolling in it.
Do you know that there are places where normal people can go to do just that?
It’s not some weird fetish, it’s simply the act of giving permission to be creative in a non-judgmental environment.
Most people know, inherently, how to be creative.
When it comes to your blog, maybe you just need to let go.
Get thinking when you brush your teeth about what you want to say. Play with it in your head, and spill it out on the page.
No-one will judge you.
Think of it like getting a big box of Lego, Play-Doh or a great set of brand new crayons, itching to be picked up and written with.
This is your new, acceptable, adult outlet for creativity.
Give it a chance, and watch it grow.