What Type of Creative Thinker Are You?

Sunday, November 29, 2015
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my creativity style. Even though I’m a writer, I don’t consider myself a very creative person. Or maybe I should phrase that a little differently—I don’t harness my creativity as often as I should. While I’m best described as a “verbal” learner, meaning I like to use words in both speech and in writing, I’m not talented in the visual arts. I don’t doodle when I take notes, trying to sketch something will completely blow my mind, and there’s no way I could stand in front of a blank canvas and fill it with anything from my own imagination. My husband is always telling me to use the “mind map” method when outlining my books, but in general, I hate outlining. I prefer to sit down at a computer and see where the story takes me. Unfortunately, this hasn’t made me a very efficient novelist.

I decided to do some reading on the topic of creativity and creative thinking. Here’s a little bit of what I learned:

According to Arne Dietrich, there are four different types of creativity with corresponding different brain activities. They are spontaneous, deliberate, cognitive and emotional. Think of inventor Thomas Edison and the methodical approach to thinking he gave each and every one of his inventions and you’ll find an example of deliberate and cognitive creativity. You can thank a hybrid of deliberate and emotional creativity for those “a-ha” moments we all experience from time to time. For any "Big Bang Theory" fans, the episode where Sheldon drives himself crazy working on a theory and then experiences a solution out of the blue when he decides to go work at The Cheesecake Factory for the day can be explained by spontaneous and cognitive creativity. Visual artists, musicians, and writers often experience spontaneous and emotional creativity (this definitely describes me).

If you look over these characteristics, I’m sure you can pick out your own creative thinking style. It was an eye opener for me. It helped me realize while I may come upon an idea spontaneously, it takes more deliberate and cognitive thinking to execute an idea to its fullest. It will take some work. That type of thinking won’t come naturally for me—I tend to be spontaneous even when I’m writing non-fiction. I don’t labor over my words for hours on end before completing an assignment. But if I want to sell more articles and books, that skill set is a necessity. Wish me luck.

How do you do most of your creative thinking—deliberate, cognitive, spontaneous, emotional, or a hybrid of two? Where would you like to improve?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning professional freelance writer, editor and blogger with hundreds of print and online articles and columns to her name. Her experience includes a background in journalism and communications, public relations, writing for regional parenting and city magazines, a daily newspaper and websites and e-zines. Visit her blog at Renee's Pages.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--I fall into the "spontaneous" category, I think, but would love to be more "deliberate."

Thanks for the graphic organizer. It got me thinking...

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