Sacred Rules of Creativity

Some Personal Reminders for Encouraging Creativity and Keeping it Alive

©Leslie Owen Wilson – 1996, revised 2013

Most of us only find our voices after we have sounded like a bunch of other people. 

Neil Gaiman (Commencement address at University of the Arts)    

Like all things precious creativity needs to be protected, nurtured, and encouraged as it is often very fragile. And so there are sacred rules of creativity, ones parents and teachers and bosses need to honor and practice. 

1. Often creativity flourishes in places of safety and acceptance, and is born in atmospheres of generosity, support, and nurture.

2. Creativity grows among friends and celebrations, and withers among enemies and confrontations.

3. Creative ideas are often fragile ‑‑ like children they deserve protection.

scoll4. Creative successes are frequently preceded by creative failures ‑‑ for trial and error are the natural companions of creativity.

5. Creating is a distinctly human trait. While all humans have creativity to some degree, for those who possess it in great abundance, exploring and honing one’s creativity is like being named guardian of a sacred object. That unusual gift or talent needs to be nurtured, guarded, protected, and shared, not squandered or abused.

6. Violating someone else’s creativity is an assault on the very essence of another’s inner being.

7. Creative feedback should be supportive, and should build on strengths, never concentrate solely on weaknesses or faults.

8. Often born from internal or external chaos, dissonance, strife, or disequilibrium, creative production can be a way of creating order, dealing with anger or grief, or solving problems as individuals seek to regain a sense of balance and control. This type of deeply personal passage needs to respected and given room to play out.

9. Being creative can be exhilarating, even addictive, and the creative spirit can be wonderfully contagious.

10. If one wishes to observe, appreciate and encourage creativity in oneself and others, one must learn to be quiet and still, to listen, and to see with the heart and soul as well as the eyes and other senses.


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