Creativity, according to Maya Angelou, is a bottomless pit: “The more you use it, the more you have,” said the novelist. “Creativity is intelligence having fun,” is a phrase often attributed to Einstein. While advertising supremo David Ogilvy came at it from a business perspective: “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative”. We know creativity is alive in all fields of life, from medicine to business and agriculture. But the word – which derives from the Latin creare, to make – is most often associated with the arts and culture, and is believed to have first appeared in the 14th-Century literary work, The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
“Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy – pure creative energy,” is the first of 10 basic principles to be found in Julia Cameron’s bestselling creative guide, The Artist’s Way. It is subtitled A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity because, she tells BBC Culture, “creativity is, to my eye, a spiritual experience”. For Cameron, there is no “creative elite”; we are all creative, she says. And while she began life as a scriptwriter – and continues to write novels, poetry and songs – it has become her life’s work to teach the many thousands from all creative fields who come to her artistically hampered by the demons of self-doubt and self-criticism, or claiming lack of time or talent.
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