What makes an individual creative? How does creativity flourish? Are there known ways in which we can improve our creative output? These questions formed the basis of a month-long book study this August as a small group of my friends in a prayer fellowship studied Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (HarperPerennial, 1996).
The book study was a delight – as the members of the group are all creative people – writers, artists, musicians – all desiring to know more about the creative gifts we have received and how to enlarge and focus them, to see if more things might come to fruition. What we discovered in reading is that the scope of creativity is so large, that the author spent much of his focus on what he termed “domain changers” – creative people who change(d) a discipline – or “symbolic domain”, of which they were a part. The author provides interviews with ninety-one individuals that he claims are exceptional (and they are).
The author uses his significant research in the study of flow to see how this impacts the creative process and while some points in the book seem to be at polar opposites, he does find that people who are creative are naturally curious and create for the love of creating.
He gives ideas late in the book on how to expand our creativity including encouraging the element of surprise in our lives and recommends goal setting and establishing a schedule both for planned activity and for rest.
The book stimulated many good discussion threads whether you read it on your own or in a discussion group. You might be encouraged (as I was) to look closely at your schedule to see how your creative life can be enhanced.
*I borrowed the book through our Link+ service as APU does not yet have a copy of this volume (but we do have copies of many of the author’s other books!).