Earlier this week, Newsweek published an article called The Creativity Crisis, which examines the so-called decline in American creativity. Authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman write: “…it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.”
Is it even possible to nurture creativity? I believe that creativity requires an inherent curiosity about life, and you can’t teach curiosity. But you can expose children and adults to things that make them curious: the wonder of nature, the complexity of art, the newness of a strange city.
Please don’t blame technology for a decline in creativity. If you are curious, the Internet can help fulfill a lot of your whims and whet your imagination. The Internet and social media have helped me become a more creative person; the overwhelming surplus of information can challenge a mind’s ability to combine facts in new, interesting patterns.
Don’t believe me? Here are fives ways that the Internet can actually boost your creative output:
1. E-mail bloggers who have an interesting perspective, even if you don’t agree with it, or who write about a topic that intrigues you. Most bloggers really appreciate feedback, especially since blogging can sometimes seem like a lonely, lost cause. A blogger who is passionate about his or her subject matter will most likely be happy to discuss it; pick a blogger’s brain and be inspired!
2. Spend some time browsing Flickr’s Creative Commons. Viewing photography is a great way to explore the world and the possibilities of creative vision. What’s fun about the Creative Commons is that some of the licenses allow anyone to download the image and modify it, as long as you give credit to the photographer. Use another person’s art to inspire your own!
3. If you’re curious about a specific subject matter, pretend you’re a journalist and interview experts in that field. You can use tools like Help a Reporter Out or post a query on Craigslist to find people who are willing to talk about their experiences and/or knowledge.
4. Consult a search engine! Most search engines will yield results in many different forms: text, video, music, photos, etc. When you can learn more about a topic using different forms of media, various parts of your brain will be excited. Your creativity will respond to the sensory stimulation and perhaps inspire you to think about something in a new way.
5. Bookmark interesting places, foods, pictures, poems, etc. This way, you can remember interesting things you want to do at a later date, like visit a landmark or cook an ethnic dish. Browsing your bookmarks might inspire a new idea – what you once found interesting may incite an urgent desire to pursue a new project or do something daring!
(Photo by laffy4k)