Creativity? Never heard of it.

This may come as a surprise to you, but there's no such thing as CREATIVITY.

I say this as a former school media specialist who cataloged tens of thousands of books in his career.  No lie: the new library at East Coweta High School was empty when we moved in and had 80,000 volumes when I left.  Since this was before the days of automation, I had to produce the catalog cards for all those books.

You remember card catalogs, right?  People seem to wax nostalgic for those behemoths, but as the guy who had to maintain the accuracy of the thing I can tell you we're better off with search engines.

Anyway, most school librarians use the Sears List of Subject Headings as a controlled list of topics under which to file the books.  It keeps you from confusing your patrons with different terms for the same subject—remember that they would have to flip through 100,00 cards to try to locate their book.  It always amused me that there was not a subject heading for CREATIVITY.

There isn't.  And here's why: CREATIVITY presumes that there is this thing, this force, this essence, that exists outside the human self.  This is the whole Romantic "genius/inspiration" thing, that the Thing That Is Not comes from outside us, from some kind of "muse" or something.


Click to make your own!

Click to make your own!

Instead, the Sears List and the Library of Congress subject lists will both redirect you:


There we go.  All that stuff you would like to do—painting, composing, writing, whatever—does not come from outside you.  It comes from inside you. 

Note: this is actually scarier than the other idea because it means that the reason you haven't written your novel yet isn't that it hasn't "come to you," it's because you haven't done it.

So go do it.