The Creative Mind: A Series on Expressing Creativity.
Welcome to a blog series that combines efforts for a college course and streams of thought into an interwoven fishing line meant to hook readers. If you’re reading this on my blog website, I hope you enjoy it. If you’re my professor and are reading this on a PDF document I submitted, I hope you enjoy it as well.
So, to the readers online, here’s some context. This blog series is a college course requirement where the task assigned to me, is that I need to use a medium of my choice to journal my creative growth via a class titled Creative Expressions. If I wasn’t self-reflective – I wouldn’t be able to claim that this assignment has come in at the most opportune time. For the past 4 months, I have been questioning my skill, my creativity, and my thought process. Turning to quite a lot of people to get the validation I could give myself.
In February of 2020, I quit a job where I was writing blogs for a company. Now, this job was titled under ‘internship’, but they were explicit on the fact that they wanted experienced folk for the internship. Thankfully, I had some previous experience in the realm of content writing and got hired for this job, which in my opinion had rather an elitist hiring process. This was back at the end of November 2019. Here, I honed my writing skills as well as my time management skill. While I loved what I did, what I absolutely hated was the way I was treated at the firm. I was directly scolded at like a child because I took a sick leave on a Monday or a Friday. I had been back in India after almost 3 years in the united states, and so my stomach was still trying to re-adjust to Indian food. I outright asked them once if they had any complaints with my work, and they said no. So, what really bothered me was the fact that I wasn’t appreciated for my extremely successful efforts, was berated in front of the entire office for taking a Monday off, and they didn’t have a work culture that respected time and boundaries.
I remember, one day at the office the management, in an attempt to make their employees feel “motivated” said this, “If you are truly passionate about your job, the number of hours you put into your work should not be bothering you.” At the time, I didn’t argue it for mainly two reasons – not having a counterpoint and because I have always been taught to not “question” the boss (a habit I am still trying to unlearn, rather unsuccessfully might I add). And, so I continued for another month, and into that month I was called into a private meeting so that they could scold me on TRYING TO IMPROVE THEIR CONTENT WEBSITE’S LAYOUT. I apologize for the all-caps, but this is to emphasize that they believed I was doing someone else’s job (a team who by the way, I had never interacted with as a content writer) and I should focus on my job. So, not only was I working overtime without even a single person from management saying, ‘good job’, I was also being reprimanded for trying to take initiative. Oh, another side note – they didn’t have any complaints about the quality of my work, they just didn’t want me to take initiative apparently. So, the next week I quit. My manager didn’t even attend my exit interview and it was apparent that they were not ready for critical feedback. I sometimes wish I had given it to them anyway so that they didn’t lose their ENTIRE content team within the next week.
How Is It All Related to Creativity?
This harrowing experience had me questioning myself. Was I good enough? Did I make a mistake in quitting the job? Should I have stuck around and ‘toughened it out’? After months of questioning this, my professor from the Creative Expressions class (henceforth referred to as ‘CE’), gave us a piece called “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”. This piece, at its core, is about walking away from your comfort zones. I personally would add that this ‘walking away’ is done to explore your personal identity and creating a world where you find comfort in being challenged. I realized then, that when I quit my job where I knew exactly what I was doing, I was comfortable in my duties I left my comfort zone. At the same time, I left behind an ugly truth that I didn’t want to abide by. And the questions that had been haunting me for months suddenly seemed so unimportant. I knew I did the right thing and there was no two ways about it. It helped shape me.
So, it was never a question of was I good enough at my job, because now I know that I was, it was more of a question my self-authority and my creativity being questioned. On reading a medium article titled, “How to Train Your Daimon” I realized that this was my way of standing up for my inner child. My creative brain. I never saw this entity from which I perform in my daily life as an equal, but when it got attacked, my defensive nature protected something important to me. This was my big revelation to my skills and how they are creative.
We discussed in class that there are four buckets of creativity as follows:
- Trait Creativity / Divergent Thought
- Creativity in action
Depending on the situation, these forms of creativity could intersect with each other, and work in tandem to approach the given situation. That statement is a little vague, so let’s use my favorite hobby as an example – cooking. The best cooks say that one cooks with all their senses involved. Cooking uses plenty of artistic creativity when plating, but before all that comes a hefty serving of creativity in action so that you use the technique that needs to be performed to pull the recipe together. After all, not everybody can make Jay Fai’s crab omelets. Sometimes, one replaces creativity in action with divergent thought when developing new recipes. Think of pineapples on pizzas. Plenty of people out there will tell you it’s not great, but when you do try a good Hawaiian pizza, you’ll realize that it is an amazing combination. Sometimes, in fine dining restaurants – they serve extremely creative dishes that turn things like salt and water into a foam that changes texture as you eat it. To develop something like that, you’d need cognitive creativity.
So, this initial approach to creativity was an amazing head start into a class that promised to teach me to use creativity in my life. That calls for the end of part 1 of the series. This series is going to have several more parts over the period of 2 months – so stay tuned!