Creativity and the Collector

seashells-graphicsfairy005bAs a fiction  writer, the concept of creativity fascinates me. Where does it come from? How do I nurture it? What have brain scientists learned about it that can help me to be more creative? Therefore, I follow the Susan K Perry’s blog, Creating in Flow, on Psychology Today.

Posts from Psychology Today’s blogs usually come with a list of links to similar topics, as well as a list of related topics on the blog you’re reading, and the most popular posts of the day. Therefore, when I receive on of Perry’s posts, it is of value in itself, and a doorway to more, fascinating posts.

Today, through a series of links, I came across Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein’s post, “The Collection Connection to Creativity” on their blog, Imagine That! They start by noting that many creative people are also collectors. Naturally, the collections themselves can inspire creativity. However, the act of collecting, in itself, exercises valuable cognitive skills. Collectors hone their ability to make observations, discriminate between similar objects/ideas, and recognize patterns, exceptions to patterns, and what is missing from a pattern.

Whew! As a yet unpublished novelist (my publishing credits are all folk tale retellings) I worry that I might not have what it takes to be a good author. So when I read about creativity, I often compare myself to the qualifiers proposed and judge myself passing or failing at this crucial quality necessary to writing fiction, especially fantasy! Well, if collecting is one sign of a creative brain, at least in this domain I pass brilliantly.

What do I collect? Books, paper, ephemera, rubber stamps, art materials, reference images for drawing, bead crafting supplies…and then there is the granddaddy collection of them all–Pinterest. I have boards for book ideas, writing information, story structure, characterization, settings, historical reference, education, art (I love art!), crafts (with multiple boards for jewelry making), travel, and recipes.

Do I have time to actually use any of my collections? Very little. Between working nearly full-time and writing, I don’t have much leftover time for jewelry making, drawing, or sewing. But I love collecting and sorting the ideas, (and actual materials). I hope I live long past retirement, then someday I may have an opportunity to try all these other outlets for creativity.

What do you collect? How does it inspire you or bring you joy?

~Art courtesy of Thegraphicsfairy.com

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2 thoughts on “Creativity and the Collector

  1. I collect weird cat sculptures. They can’t be typically cute but have to be strange in some way. They’re at work on the top of a book case in my office. Of course, I collect books. I used to collect ornaments, but my tree is too full, so I stopped. I still buy each of my kids one each year, and when they finally are ready to take them for their own trees, I’ll have to start collecting for myself again! I also used to collect tea cups, but I don’t like dusting them, so I stopped.

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    • What a fun collection! Of course, I, too, collect books. My husband jokes that is how we insulate our home. And like you, I have found as time goes by, that collections that require dusting are not nearly as fun as those that don’t. Have fun continuing your collecting!

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