Friday, January 12, 2007

Creativity: some implications for (creative) writers.

At the moment I am reading about creativity - a subject that is fascinating me the more I delve into it. Here are three facts pertinent to the business of writing:

(i) creative people love what they do; the business of getting paid is an additional bonus.

(ii) it requires at least 10 years of full immersion in the 'creative domain' (for writers a commitment to writing more or less full-time) in order for any artist or scientist to achieve their master-piece or ground-breaking discoovery (this has depressing implications for the writer in today's publication industry since if an author does not sell immediately their future as a writer is threatened);

(iii) creating in order to be rewarded inhibits creativity. Therefore writing for a market or indeed a particular readership (and therefore establishing sales and an income) will not create a great work. The work must be created for its own sake.

So, in order to create their 'great work' a writer must write for his or herself, must love what they do regardless of any market, and must be supported in doing very little else for at least ten years. In other words every writer of any promise is in desperate need of is either a faithful and besotted patron or a mindless job that pays well and allows much day-dreaming.

Very luckily for me I have Hodmandod Senior.

12 Comments:

Blogger Lee said...

I'm going to copy and paste this post above my desk, though I knew that about the 10 year immersion from music. What are you reading about creativity?

Sat Jan 13, 06:16:00 am  
Anonymous clare said...

Just that, really, Lee. All about how we 'create'and learn.

Sat Jan 13, 07:09:00 am  
Blogger Lee said...

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant which sources, which books.

Sat Jan 13, 08:01:00 am  
Anonymous clare said...

The one I'm reading at the moment is CREATIVITY IN SCIENCE by Dean Keith Simonton. It's very interesting although quite statistically based...but there are many, many others!

Sat Jan 13, 01:56:00 pm  
Anonymous marly said...

Yes, we ought to require professionals to marry an artist, don't you think? Too much of this fat cats marrying fat cats!

Sat Jan 13, 03:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Yes Marly, I agree completely. Professionals ought to feel socially obliged to marry struggling artist -types. I think it's the least they can do, to be honest.

Sun Jan 14, 12:27:00 am  
Blogger Gordon McCabe said...

It's generally agreed that the best ideas come 'from the back of your head', when you're not really consciously thinking about something. I suspect it's something to do with letting the subsconscious weave its eldritch magic.

Alternatively, some years ago Terry Pratchett suggested that there were elementary particles, called 'inspiratons', which cause people to have ideas whenever they collide with your brain. Wonder what gave him that idea?

Wed Jan 17, 12:41:00 am  
Anonymous Clare said...

Hello Gordon - thank you for visiting - I realise that you are busy with your own creations at the moment so I'm very grateful you've found the time.


Thank you for that gem from Terry Pratchett. Inspirations,huh? I like it - very CREATIVE of him. Heh.

Wed Jan 17, 02:19:00 pm  
Blogger AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

I guess the connection between the expectation of a reward and writing for a particular group of leaders is not clear to me.

One HAS to write for a particular group. It is like giving a talk; you have to know your audience beforehand if you want to make sense.

Thu Jan 18, 05:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking into creativity a few years ago, and have since moved house several times and have no idea where my notes are. The core of the argument was that it takes roughly 1000 hours of practice to aquire any skill to a competent level. and that 1000 hours is actually spent practicing the skill, not staring out of the window thinking how you are going to get round to it as soon as you've finished this cup of coffee/watched the birds in the garden.

Creativity with the chosen skill would be a seperate skill developed alongside the technical ability.

Fri Jan 19, 09:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Aydin: I see your point, and that is certainly true in non-fiction. However, in fiction - and I suppose I mean here fiction as an art rather than commercial fiction (which has the main aim of telling a tale) - I believe that it is important to write for yourself. That is find the best means to express what you feel the need to express. If you write just to sell the artistic nature of the work will suffer. It may still be good work but the creative quality will not be as great.

Anon - that's an interesting take, thanks for your comment - I'm just wondering if 1000 hours equates with 10 years - I think not - that would be just 100 hours a year which doesn't seem very intensive - but maybe that is just for the creatvity skills and the technical skills account for more.

Sat Jan 20, 05:46:00 pm  
Blogger AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

Clare, OK, I can see your point if it's fiction. Most poets, I suppose, wouldn't write for a specific group of readers.

Tue Jan 23, 02:07:00 am  

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