Thursday, February 28, 2008

Encouraging Creativity

By Nichole Giles

During the BYU sponsored conference, “Life, the Universe, and Everything,” I was privileged to sit through many of the Thursday sessions that other people were unable to attend. The main address that day was given by Kevin Wasden, an illustrator.

In the beginning, I considered skipping the address to hunt up a snack. I’m not an illustrator, so I wondered what Kevin could say that might pertain to writing. Luckily, I came to my senses and remembered that writing is art, and all things artistic are related—especially writing and illustrating. Those two in particular go hand in hand.

I was glad I stayed. Kevin gave a presentation so impressive that it gave me cause to think about a lot of things—in life, in writing, in thinking, and in motherhood—differently. I took four pages worth of notes, and that is only what I was able to scribble by hand.

He began by asking the question: What is creativity?

Of course, people tossed out a few answers here and there. It was suggested that creativity is: Ability, desire, illumination, and generating a combination of ideas to become something new. I thought these were great answers.

Then he went on to list traits common to creative people. (I love this list.)
Creative people generate many ideas.
Creative people recognize and nurture good ideas
Creative people are observant
Creative people are imaginative
Creative people are interested in many things
Creative people dare to take risks
Creative people are independent thinkers
Creative people welcome challenges
Creative people persevere
Creative people value their ideas

This list gave me cause to think about my own creative qualities, and the reasons behind them. It was an eye opener to think about some of these points. Those of us with even a few of these traits should be proud to have them.

Kevin also claims creativity is something everyone is born with, but can also be learned. We are all naturally creative, but we must learn how to channel our strengths. It requires hard organizational change in attitude and thinking style. He suggests carrying a sketchbook (or notebook) everywhere you go, and always sketching/writing things that catch your attention. Kevin claims this is especially crucial for children, and quoted Pablo Picasso to make his point.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.”

I love that thought too. Kevin also gave the following tidbits of advice:

“Our children are creative. It is our job to foster their creativity—as well as our own—as much as we can.”

“Success begins on paper. If you have an idea, do what you have to do to get it down.”

What brilliant thoughts he shared. In case you’re interested in learning more from Kevin Wasden, you can visit his website sketchbooksforkids.org. Thanks for reading.

Stay tuned next Thursday for my favorite tips from Orson Scott Card, Gail Carson Levine, Brandon Sanderson, Rebecca Shelly, James Dashner and more.

3 comments:

Rachelle said...

Nichole,
I tagged you over at my blog. Hopefully you haven't already done the seven random things yet, it's pretty fun.

Rebecca Talley said...

Great list. Wish I could've attended.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks Rachelle, I'll check it out!

Thanks Rebecca. It was a fun conference. Hope to see you at the LDStorymakers conference in March!

Nichole