The 6 Characteristics of Highly Creative People

I found this article several years ago, after looking up the exact wording to one of my all-time favourite quotes by Thomas Moore. The article spoke to me so much I cut & pasted it for future reference. I found it the other day while cleaning out folders on my hard drive. I thought I would share it here as I’m sure many of you can relate, esp. other “innerpreneur” types like myself. Unfortunately I am not sure what website this originally came from, however I was able to give credit to the author.

by Michelle L. Casto

Thomas Moore said, “We are all poets and artists as we live our daily lives, whether or not we recognize our role and whether or not we believe it.” Human beings have an innate need to create. Even you! There is a continuum of creativity, ranging from being slightly creative to highly creative. The good news is that you can learn to be more creative by observing creative people and modeling yourself after them. Artists, writers, and creative types seem to have similar characteristics. Some of the personality traits listed below may seem eccentric, odd, even “out there”—but that is where creativity lies— in the outreaches of our consciousness, in the depths of our souls. If you had the opportunity to speak to Picasso, Walt Disney, or Jane Austen, you would probably find out that they are ordinary people, much like you and I. The difference is that they have allowed more of their soul to come out and play and have freed themselves of convention and restriction. Creativity is essentially the art of discovery and an act of faith. When you create something— a work of art, book, software program, dance routine, or role for a play, you discover parts of yourself that you never knew existed. Creative people have a strong need to express more of who you really are and often have to fight for that right. The character Isabelle in the movie, Fire and Ice, has a great outlook on what it means to be creative, she says, “To create, sometimes you must rebel.”

1. Unconventional
Creative people do not feel the need to conform to society’s standards. They often swim against the current and flow with their own way of thinking and living. They have original ideas that literally turn the world upside down and right-side out. Take for example, the 16th century Italian astronomer, Galileo, who proved that the earth revolved around the sun (instead of the other way around), which was revolutionary in his time.

2. Individualistic
Creative people want to find out what the truth is, and they have a strong need to decide for themselves what works and what does not. Often they are ahead of their time, and much of their work is appreciated/acknowledged after they are dead and gone. Many writers are famous for marching to the tune of their own drum, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote the book, Self-Reliance, and Robert Frost who penned, “two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less-traveled.”

3. Inventive
Creative people live in the world of ideas, and don’t always have the best interpersonal skills. Because they are so highly intelligent, and live in the realm of possibility, they are constantly coming up with bright ideas. They also take notice of what is missing in the world and/or what could be improved. Take for instance, Thomas Edison, who invented hundreds of things in his time, his most famous invention being the light bulb. He saw that there was darkness and then created light.

4. Driven
Creative people cannot “not do something”-they are almost compulsive until they can bring their internal vision into fruition. They have that “fire in their belly”—a passion to contribute to the beauty and betterment of the world. Because of their high drive, they can produce a lot in a relative short amount of time. Talk about drive— the material girl herself, Madonna, has not let public praise or criticism stop her from being a super star. She is a modern day Diva, multi-talented as a singer, dancer, and actress who has released hundreds of songs, albums, videos, movies, books— all the while reinventing herself as someone new.

5. Visionary
Creative people have a guiding vision in their head, heart, and soul that they are often called to bring to life. Who else but Michelangelo could look at a large piece of marble and “chip away at everything that wasn’t David?” According to him, “I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” One of his best-known works is the immense ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which took him three years to complete, where he often had to work upside down for hours at a time. If you ever have seen any of his work, you can easily see that it is a vision to behold.

6. Intuitive
Creative people are very in touch with their inner selves. They pay attention to the signs, synchronicities, symbols around them, and make use of that information in their work. They often act as a channel, where ideas and inspiration come from a higher plane. They allow the work to guide them to where it needs to go. The work clearly originates in their soul, not from their ego. Talk about ideas coming from out of the blue, remember how the scientist, Isaac Newton “discovered” gravity? He was sitting under a tree and an apple fell on his head! Had he not made a connection with his intuitive nature, he would have missed a major theory about the world we live in!

As you read this, do you find yourself relating to some of these traits? If so, it is time to start creating. Getting started can often be the hardest part, because we often limit our creativity by listening too closely to our negative inner voice. But so did all of these examples of creators. Even the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh struggled with that, but he created a remedy for that, he said, “If you hear a voice within you saying, you are not a painter, then by all means, paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Robert Henri says, “When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature.” Once you have created, you now have to put yourself out there for all to see. This is where your faith comes in to support you. Remember that if you are creating from your soul, it will not matter whether other people accept your work or not. You are simply doing what you are called to do as a human being, create.

Michelle L. Casto is a whole life coach, speaker, and author of Get Smart! About Modern Romantic Relationships, Get Smart! About Modern Career Development, and Get Smart! About Modern Stress Management. Her coaching practice is Brightlight Coaching, she helps people come up with bright ideas for their life and empowers them to freely shine their bright light to the world. Contact her for a free 30 minute coaching session: www.getsmartseries.com and www.brightlightcoach.com

Contributed by:

Michelle Casto
©2003, Michelle Casto
Website: Get Smart! LearningBooks, Seminars, and Life Coach

Rockhound Wannabes in Bancroft

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I was fortunate enough to travel to Ontario Cottage Country in order to attend the 46th Annual Rockhound Gemboree in Bancroft. My husband & I are rock & minerals geeks but are very green when it comes to rockhounding. It’s definitely something we want to make a family activity. We met some wonderful encouraging amateur rockhounds & look forward to getting out to the field once the children are a bit older.

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Bancroft is the Mineral Capital of Canada and the show did not disappoint. Two buildings plus an outdoor area filled with jewelry making supplies, specimens, info on rock hounding & many talented artists from jewelry makers to stone carvers. We did the full show: 4 days and we were never bored. We actually felt a little sad when it drew to the close on the 4th day. We Definitely will be back next year. Staying at a cottage with no electronics was also so clearing for the mind. My cell phone didn’t even work. We were just able to sink in and enjoy the natural beauty the area had to offer despite all the mosquitoes (thanks to a rainy summer!).

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Besides jewelry making goodies we also picked up several wonderful specimens. Our favourite place to buy was from the amateur rockhounds who set up shop in the sweltering heat outside. Not only were they wonderful quality, but it carried so much meaning to us to acquire pieces that were collected by such passionate individuals. We had a collection of a few specimens picked up over the years, mostly from our days in Nova Scotia attending the Parrsboro Gem & Mineral Show. But after the haul of goodies we obtained from Bancroft, it was time to set up a display case so that we could enjoy our finds all in the same place.

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Dare I say – our collection is TOO BIG for the display cabinet!! Next year, we will have to look at acquiring another one…

I would share here some of the jewelry making materials I acquired, but 1) the photos were pretty bad and b) it’s more fun to let the creativity flow & share the treasures through design! Stay tuned!

Finding Inspiration…

Newton’s first Law of Motion: “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion…” So too does this apply to inspiration. I found myself  “stuck”  as of late to get jewelry making again. Out came the supplies & I sat down…but nothing came to me. No inspiration. I’m into jewelry making for the expression: the creative outlet; not just to mass assemble pieces for sale.

Over the 12 years that I have been making jewelry, I know a thing or two about finding inspiration for my art form. I was foolish to think I could just sit down and start again after a 10 week hiatus! So here’s what I do to get myself inspired again:

1. I get organized.

Regardless if you make jewelry, paint, knit, sew, etc., your supplies are bound to get messy despite your best attempts to keep it neat & tidy. We wouldn’t be creative individuals without a bit of chaos thrown in! So I take some time to sift & sort through supplies. Sometimes an object just needs a new place in the storage containers or on the workbench in order for it to spark some creative juices. Touching & feeling the textures of the medium you work with (for me it’s mostly semi-precious gemstones) can also kick start the process.

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2. I go shopping.

Whether your budget is big or small, buying new supplies or simply browsing at your LBS (local bead shop)/supply store can be a wealth of inspiration. It also keeps you up to date with what’s new & exciting. Besides this, I like to window shop at the local mall. The window displays tell a lot about what’s “hot” for the season.

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3. Check out the trends online &  in magazines

This is a given, I know. For jewelry making, I like to check out the trends by browsing online jewelry shops, or department store catalogues. It’s also great to read trend reports on fashion sites. I tend to shy away from actually making anything based on trends, but it still serves as inspiration. Checking out what other talented artists in the handmade realm are making aids in finding creativity for me. Not just the jewelry, but the handmade goods on sites like Etsy & Artfire are sure to get the ideas flowing.

4. I look around me

Absolutely, hands down, the best form of inspiration is my environment. Whether it be the colours & textures of my children’s clothing, the vibrant colour of a fresh salad straight from the garden or the mixture of my own personal decorating style around the house. All these things serve as the best inspiration of all, because it is something intimate to me, that is easily relatable. Working with what I know helps my creations evolve with a sense of ease, & doesn’t end up looking forced or mechanical.

The change in seasons is a huge help as well. I am someone who is drawn to nature well, naturally! I think we all are in one way or another. Maybe you like to sit and meditate or read outdoors, go hiking in the woods, plant in your garden or play a seasonal sport. I know for me, this time of year the flowers in full bloom & the lush green foliage acts as a catalyst for me to create jewelry pieces that are vibrant & alive with colour: turquoise, orange, yellow, etc. I have some magnificent orange dahlias blooming out front that serve as the inspiration for my current work in progress.

5. I look at what the birthstone of the month is

Most of my jewelry is based on the metaphysical properties of stones, so I enjoy making jewelry themed around birthstones. This helps give me a benchmark as to where to begin. For example for June, I could concentrate on making pieces featuring pearls & moonstone to help get me going. Even if you don’t make jewelry, the colour of the birthstones may help give you a place to start your knitting or embroidery.

6. I Draw

I can barely draw a stick person mind you, but this is all the skill that I need to record any ideas I may have. As I become more aware of my environment in a creative sense, I will get flashes of ideas. It’s great to put them down on paper for future reference. It sounds cliché but a pad of paper & a pen by your bed really is a must. I can’t tell you how many times I have had brilliant design ideas just as I am nodding off to sleep or waking up, only to forget them later when I have the chance to actually put those ideas to use. Right now for me the best time for ideas is as I put my girls to bed. I lay down with them until they fall asleep, so this is great time to just close my eyes and think. I then draw them out on paper once I am free to get up & start my evening.

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Of course some of my favourite pieces have been created out of spontaneity, and following the steps above I believe can help you create unique items regardless of what your creative medium happens to be. What are some of the ways you find inspiration? Happy Creating!

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Getting my Groove On…

Well it’s offcial. I sat down last night I finally made my way back into jewelry making after a 10 week hiatus due to the birth of my second daughter. I am elated, because the hiatus was more like, one year after my first! It was just a couple of pairs of earrings but it was enough to get the creativity flowing & have the ideas come rushing forth. Here’s what I’m working on today, I think I’ll call it, “orange crush”:

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They are vintage orange beads with a gold AB finsih on one side. I got these at an online aution get this – over 11 years ago!!! Yep. I thought they looked cool but in over a decade I was at a loss as to what to do with them. I’ve been hanging on to them ever since: something about them told me when the time was right, I would use them. Trust me, there have been many time when I have considered destashing them or giving them away! Stay tuned for the finished piece…

The moment of creative impulse is what an artist gives you. You look at a Pollock, and it can’t give you the tools to do a painting like that yourself, but in doing the work, Pollock shares with you the moment of creative impulse that drove him to do that work.
– Patti Smith

…And the Lemonade Award goes toooooo….

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I want to give a special & heart felt thank you to Dawn & Maureen for nominating me for a lemonade award previously. This may seem like a small gesture but it touches my heart that you enjoy my blog & that I inspire you…you ladies inspire me too.

I wanted to pick a special night to annouce my nominations, & I thought that leaving it for Oscar night would be very appropriate. I had a really hard time picking 10 blogs: I read a lot of blogs that inspire the many factes of my life so it was hard to narrow down. However, here are my picks:

Kristie, Lisa & Co., Jody, Lynn, Jill, Aurore, Jenell, Carle, Linda and last but not least of course, Dianne!

Although these ladies blog about very different topics, their creativity, talent, & personalities inspire me in so many ways. I always enjoy visiting their blogs & applying their strength, ideas & overall good energy to my day to day life. Hats off to you! Keep sharing & keep inspiring! Visit their blogs & see for yourself… 🙂

Pass on some lemonade & let someone know they have inspired you. Here’s what you do:

1.Put the logo on your blog or post
2.Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great Gratitude and/or Attitude.
3.Be sure to list and link your nominees within your post.
4.Let them know they have received this award by leaving a comment on their blog.
5.Nominate your favorites and link to your post.

A Gesture that Made my Day: I Won a Lemonade Award!

Dawn, fellow jewelry maker & blogger, nominated me today for a lemonade award, in recognition for great gratitude/attitude. It may seem like a small gesture, but to me it means so much! Dawn is also a talented jewelry artist & a great source of inspiration for me. I am honoured to be a source of motivation & inspiration for her as well. Big hugs to you, Dawn!! Check out her Etsy Shop

Donations Kick Start the 2009 Year…Could I help you with your fundraiser?

So far this year, I am pleased to have donated to two causes by donating jewelry for silent auctions. I always love to donate my talents to worthy causes that help people at the personal, or at the grass roots/community level. Both donations were for fellow jewelry makers from the Starving Artists Team on Etsy.

I made three pairs of earrings for a silent auction in North Carolina. Proceeds go to an elementary school which has a high percentage of children with special needs and non-English speaking children attending. Since their funds have been drastically cut, the school has no money to purchase much needed equipment, ESL materials, etc. Upon talking to Jenni I decided to make three pairs of earrings as they are lower end items and (hopefully) easy sales. They already had lots of higher end items donated.

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The second fundraiser is for a man fighting brain cancer. I decided to make a brain cancer awareness bracelet. As the silent auction was in conjunction with a golf tournament, something a little higher priced seemed fitting. Plus since this was a fundraiser for an individual, I wanted the piece to be more personal & inspirational. You can read about Chris here at Caly’s Day at the Beach Blog.

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If you think my talents could help you with your community level fundraiser, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to hear about your cause & see if it is something that I can help you with.

100 Days of Creativity…

Driving back to Montréal from Holidays in Nova Scotia, I had a lot of time to think about what I want for 2009. Besides the usual growing family happiness & prosperity bit, I realized that my creativity suffered in 2008. I had most of my attention on my daughter, and convinced myself I just didn’t have the time or the inclination to be creative. I would be creative on the computer: editing photos, working on my website, etc…

The only problem with this plan was, this was not tactile creativity. Although photo editing can be fun; staring at a computer screen did more soul killing than building for me. I realized, that if I were to keep on top of my creativity – which is my unwind, my meditation, my zen – I would have to make jewelry design more of a priority in 2009, even if the logic in the back of my mind is telling me I should be cleaning the house or finishing my website so to market all the things I make.

So, after being very inspired by the Starving Artists Jewelry Team I joined on Etsy, I decided to embark on 100 days of creativity: a piece a day, made & listed on Etsy until I reach 100 listings. Ok, so I cheat a bit here. I had about 30 pieces to begin with in my Etsy shop, and there are days when I get inspired to make 2 or 3 pieces in one sitting, and some days I don’t get to make any because my motherly duties come first. But the general idea is, 100 pieces of jewelry to signify 100 days of putting this side of me to the fore front. I am creative through & through, and without it I feel very out of sorts; it even led to depression in my early 20’s. Hell, I’m even left-handed! The touch, the colours & textures…this is so a part of me as breathing, it needs to be nurtured like a new born baby.

At first, I got off to a slow start. I had not been making jewelry regularly for so long I had a bad case of performance anxiety. So it meant unlisting and rearranging a few things I already had on Etsy. Finally, I was forcing myself at 10pm to make one piece. Even though my body was screaming go to bed – you have to get up early tomorrow. Even if it was a simple pair of earrings; just something. And you know what? It was the best thing I have ever forced myself to do. All of a sudden, the business ideas starting coming to me…the next step for marketing, where I want to take it, where I want to be in March (when I have to take another hiatus to play new mom all over again). I feel totally clear-headed, and directed. It was all because, I needed to reincorporate into the mix the one thing that inspires me, motivates me, gets me excited: making jewelry!

Now this probably sounds completely hokey to some (most?) of you. For goodness sake, you are making jewelry, you say…body adornment to pretty up one’s vanity…but no, I don’t see it that way. We all have talents; this happens to be mine. I believe in wearable expression: not wearing jewelry to hide our self-hatred or self-believed ugliness. It is to express, to inspire and heighten one’s self. I, as the artist, express myself with each piece. The wearer interprets the piece in the way that it makes them feel when wearing it. Maybe it reminds them of someone, something…this is my goal, that you enjoy wearing the piece because it goes with such-and-such outfit…and then go farther to wear something that is infused with the good intentions & energy of the person who made it. You know who made it. It is a one-of-a-kind, not just something off a conveyor belt. In our throw away society, materialism means so much, yet so little, as we will discard what we buy just as fast as we swiped the plastic to purchase it. I am hoping, especially in this economy, that the sentiment of cherishing the goods we buy because of the hard work that went into it – you for making your dollars – me for making the jewelry by hand – is brought back. This is not just for myself, but for all those who work away in the Cottage Industry. We are not driven by money, but by enjoyment, & a deeper need that so needs to be fulfilled again in this day & age.

My jewelry making philosophy is outlined on the front page of my (incomplete!) website heavenlyflower.com

Please check out the goodies in my Etsy Shop. I am almost half way to my goal! Even if you don’t buy you can look & appreciate. I hope it inspires you to evoke your own creativity, however you choose to express it.

Oh, and on the business side of it: once I get the 100 pieces complete I will then use this as an online portfolio to promote myself while I work on finishing the website. Don’t worry, I’m always thinking… 😉