One of the things I love about creativity is the magic inherent in every creative act; it’s one of the reasons creativity never gets old.
For me, there is a difference between the mystical and magical. Mystical is unapproachable, indefinite, confusing. Magical, on the other hand, is wonderful, amazing, awe-inspiring and fun. They are both strange, but for different reasons. These aren’t opposites, but they can be at odds.
It’s easy to relegate creativity and those who practice it to the mystical side of the spectrum, to believe only the elite can obtain it—that it must be earned in some way no one quite understands. But I see a different side to it. I see sparks of magic every time someone dares to be creative, like something from Harry Potter but with no Muggles and a more balanced and robust magic system.
To be clear, I’m not talking about witchcraft, spellbinding or similar practices, but something deeper, the same magic with which the world was made, the same which flows in each person and allows us to see a thing and call it beautiful, to be stirred deep in our souls—beyond the grasp of mere words.
The sweet thing is, no one owns this magic, it’s available to everyone. Sure, there are self-proclaimed watchdogs, people in suits who own big companies, make labels or give out awards. They’ve had their day, but the doors they guarded are blown wide open, I think this is for the best. Not to say the curators aren’t important. I think they’re even more important now, with such a flood of creative content available. The difference is it’s not just about the money and those with the money don’t get to make all the big decisions on what is and isn’t creative.
I recently heard an interview with the lead singer of The Flaming Lips. He talked about how much their process has changed over the years, gotten easier because of all the great audio tools available. But he also admitted they still don’t really know what they’re doing, despite all their experience making albums. The process may be faster for them, and smoother, but they’re figuring it out just as much as anyone else every time they begin a song.
I found this inspirational: no one gets to tell you the right or wrong way to be a creative because no one really knows for sure, it’s just an ongoing wonderful journey. The professionals are still figuring it out and novices discover new methods all the time.
Sure, you can get some great advice from people who have been there before, but they’re all still learning how the magic works the same way you are. It’s a magic that’s always there but always changing. Creative accomplishment, like tomorrow, is guaranteed to no one and those who had it might not always keep it. It takes effort every time and the moment we stop putting in the effort, we lose our grasp.
With the tools and technology available today, the bar to entry is low. It’s become very easy to make something wonderful and share it with the public. On the downside, it’s also easy to make junk and give it to a lot of people, which makes people more skeptical. This is why we need the curators. But the junk inevitably floats to the bottom and the creamiest of crops rise to the top.
So what am I trying to say in this half-crazed ramble? Perhaps, like a winged granny, I'm off my rocker, but I can't help being a little squirrely here—I'm just nuts about creativity and its endless possibilities. Here, I suppose, is my roundabout point: take time to enjoy the creative process, be open to new discoveries and stand back in wonder at the magic of it all.
Hey Creatives, do you think of creativity as more magical or mystical, or is it something you approach with logic and reason? Let us know in the comments below.