I don’t think I can log onto Facebook anymore without seeing one of those personality tests:
- “Which Hogwarts house do you belong in?”
- “What Disney Princess are you?”
- “What city should you live in?”
And right alongside them: “50 things only introverts will understand” and “Only nerds will get these jokes”, etc.
So while we’re dividing the universe into types and categories, here’s my take on the types of creative people.
In ancient Greek mythology, Muses were goddesses that bestowed inspiration upon artists. Since then, we’ve come to use the term much more loosely, sometimes as a metaphor for inspiration as a whole. In this case, I’m talking about specific people.
Sometimes you’ll hear me refer to my friend Kya as a muse, for example. She’s one of those people who just looks at the world a little bit differently, and can come up with new ideas and perspectives as easily as other people breathe. A short conversation with a Muse can be enough to trigger inspiration, and suddenly artistic types are just itching to get their hands on a keyboard/canvas/mound of clay/etc.
The funny thing about Muses is that they don’t necessarily consider themselves artists, and often don’t write/draw/whatever themselves– but they still thrive on the creative process.
I thought about the proper term for this group– composers, creators, technicians– but it all comes down to the same thing: these are the people we most often consider creative types. They’re the ones who sit down and put pen to paper, chisel to stone, and fingers to keyboard. Where Muses are defined by their ability to see the world differently, Artists are defined by discipline. They’re the ones who actually go out and do stuff.
These are the editors, the critiquers, the people who look over your shoulder and say “oh, you missed a spot.” They’re the ones who have the distance to look at a work objectively and find the little things that need to be fixed before it’s presented to the public. These are especially important, because often finishing a work isn’t enough– a good Critic is someone who will help bring a work to its fullest potential, by helping to polish it until it shines. And trust me, it takes talent and skill to be a good Critic: not only to spot those errors on both a large and a small scale, but to be able to figure out the best ways to fix them. They’re defined by their eye for detail and their attention to the big picture.
So get this
I’d argue that very, very few creative people would fit into only one of the above categories. Generally, they’re more of a mixture– because very few people are ever entirely just one thing or another. But at the same time, knowing where our creative strengths lie means that we can play to them.
For example, I’m predominantly an Artist with strong leanings toward being a Critic. When my creative juices run dry, I know to call up my friend Kya, and soon I’m overflowing with them. In the same sense, Kya knows that when she wants to see her ideas expanded into stories, she can call me up and I can make that happen.
So here’s my question to you, dear readers:
What kind of Creative are you?