Creativity is not a product of thinking

Who I am is the sum of many parts. More than my mind wants me to believe. There’s a part of me that’s capable of problem solving, of creativity, of insight.

My mind is the part of me that questions things. It’s my inner critic. It does most of the talking in my head. Mostly, it tells me that I can’t do something. This is hard. That’s wrong. You’ve got nothing new to add to this. This is not how I solve problems, though it drives me to find better solutions to problems.

My eyes speak to me, too. This is ugly. How can you keep writing when the font is wrong? There’s a spelling error, go fix it! This is not how I solve problems, though it’s how I see that problems exist.

My creativity flows from something else, the most quiet part of me. It’s actually what I’m using right now to write this. It’s my fingers. It’s not actually my fingers, of course, but it’s the part of my brain that sets my fingers in motion, across a keyboard or across an open page. It’s the part of my brain that, when my mind said I had nothing worthwhile to type today, started typing before deciding what to type. It’s the part of me that tries to draw a face, and doesn’t care that the face looks like something an untalented preschool child might draw. It’s the part of me that produced the first draft of this, spelling errors and crappy fonts and occasional run-on sentence and all.

This is the part of me that I’ve been poor at nurturing in 2011. The part of me that’s been broken. The part of me that my mind has held tightly, that the tiny animal in me has said is worthless.

My mind wants me to stop writing this post, because it has no value. That’s its job, to question things. But when it questions not just my output, but that I am creating at all, it needs to be ignored.

My eyes want me to go change the font so I’m no longer typing in Cochin 17. (Really, Cochin 17? What kind of default is that?) That’s it’s job, to make things beautiful once problems are recognized. But when it wants me to waste time on appearance instead of typing, it needs to be ignored.

Until the words have flowed from my fingers, there must be nothing but my fingers. This is my pledge to myself for the year; to create first, to criticize my creations after they are created rather than before.

My fingers know what they’re doing, and they’re the best part of me.