Writing for liberation exercise: understanding creativity

What is creativity? Let’s do this exercise, then talk about it.

Write a list of ten uses for a toothpick. Then, if you are working on a poem, article, story or even a drawing, write a list of ten alternate ways you could have done it, or ten alternate endings, or beginnings – whatever alternative is appropriate or needed. Then read on.

Look at your lists. Are the first few in each the most obvious, easy answers? As you go down your list, do you get a bit more original, innovative, and unusual?

Here’s my toothpick list: 1. Poke holes in plastic 2. Pick up cheese 3. Pick up sticks 4. Clean your teeth 5. Clean your nails 6. Make flower or desert arrangements 7. Make those square puzzles where one side has to be moved 8. Cover them in paint and roll them around on paper for an interesting pattern 9. Needles to hold a cloth in place when sewing 10.Surfboards for dragonflies

Creativity, in its essence, is thinking. It’s the kind of thought that involves a bit of effort, as it means going beyond the obvious, outside the square. And that’s why creativity isn’t just limited to the arts, its part of our life. Practicing creativity as we write, draw, dance, rap, and so  on, helps us to be stronger problem solvers in life, to be critical thinkers when we read the news, and vice versa. Exercises like the one above can help warm up the brain, or they can help you get out of an uncreative rut, and find an more wonderful way to express that thing or do what you’re trying to do.


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