Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Adults are Creative, Too

Edouard Joseph Dantan--1848-1897--SculptorI’ve always said, and believed it to be true, that I’ve never been more creative than when I was 9 years old.

My whole 4th grade year just crackled with creativity. I wrote every day, sneaked writing in during math time (no wonder my math grades were horrid), thought about what I was going to write when I got home from school, and invited children over to play and instead forced them to write stories with me.

But—I’m creative now, surely. I wrote three books last year, so how could I think I’ve not been creative? Except—I’m more methodical about it, and a lot more measured with my approach. Does that make me less creative?

Still, though, some days I feel like something is missing that used to be there.

There was an article I came across last week that made me realize what was missing. The article was by Jeffrey Davis on Psychology Today in a post titled “Think Like a 47-Year-Old to Boost Your Creativity.”

I think it’s wonder that’s sometimes missing from my creative process.

Davis said that 19th century poet Charles Baudelaire once stated, "Genius is the capacity to retrieve childhood at will." But Davis noted:

But…highly creative people are not retrieving childhood - which includes, remember, all of its muddled-ness and meanness and necessary dependency and utter self-centeredness. These adults are retrieving wonder - which is what Baudelaire meant. When we say that "Genius is the capacity to retrieve wonder at will," then we're not nostalgically trying to bring back some "lost child" or "find our inner child." We are supremely present with who and how we are.

Davis says that studies have found the adult brain to be superior in many ways to a young brain. And he says that we can not only purposefully embrace wonder, but that our “knowledge and experience can enrich” it.

So looking at the world with fresh eyes is important to creativity. The wonder of the world is what helps fuel our imaginations. We might have to work harder to feel the wonder, but we can definitely do it.

How do you fuel your imagination and keep the wonder alive?