The Myth Of Creativity In Isolation

It is common for people to distance themselves from their community and go into seclusion when seeking to come up with novel ideas. The notion of the lone creator is mentioned in R. Keith Sawyer’s book "Explaining Creativity" as one of the common beliefs of what he calls the "Western Cultural Model of Creativity." Despite the popularity of this point of view, it is very important to be around others when coming up with creative works.

In essence, creations are made for the benefit of people other than their creator. This explains why it is important to involve more than one person's point of view when coming up with something new. Creators need to be in contact with other people since no one person has the solutions to everything. Working with others helps strengthen ideas. For instance, the most innovative ideas were the result of more than one person's efforts. According to the BBC, photo sharing application Instagram came to being through the efforts of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Inspired by the Polaroid camera, the two built the application, which now has more than 300 million active users as reported by The Statistics Portal.

A person needs to be familiar with a certain field in order to produce new ideas within it. This exposure would, by necessity, involve consulting the work of other creators, interacting with potential users and if possible, seeking the advice of experts in the given domain. For example, writers must anticipate their target readers' interests before writing a book. Although one has a lot of freedom when creating alone, creating with others helps direct the creative process better. The feedback and questions asked by others other than the creator leads to well thought out ideas.

An underlying belief that supports the myth of the lone creator is the idea that creativity is solely an individual trait. In this concept, the individual is said to have a unique perspective that leads them to profound ideas. While it is not entirely wrong, the problem with this assumption is that it disregards the important role a person's environment plays in encouraging creativity. Human beings' impressionability means external factors influence people unconsciously and consciously. Inevitably, what a person creates could be the projection of what they have internalized. With this in mind, not much good comes from creativity in isolation.

The next time you wish to be productive in your creativity, dare to collaborate with another person in at least one part of the process, and you will be glad you did.

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