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First off, what does creative mean? A standard dictionary definition is “having the power or quality of creating”. Going down the line, to ‘create’ means “to bring something into existence where nothing existed before”. It comes from the Latin creare meaning to make or produce.

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So being creative essentially means you make stuff up. Period. Notice how there are no qualitative attachments to the definition. You don’t have to wear thick rimmed glasses or skinny jeans or plaid. The only real qualification is that what you are creating has to be original. If someone else created it first, then you haven’t actually created anything.

Other than that, creating is creating. ‘Good’ creativity and ‘bad’ creativity are subjective judgements. ‘Good’ creativity tends to get paid, but that’s looking a bit too far down the road when you are just starting out as a writer.

I’m a writer. I write these articles, I write a blog, and I write short stories. At different times in my life, I’ve played guitar in a band, done graphic design, and put together and run an online retail store. Most people would consider at least some of that stuff ‘creative’, but I never have.

I’ve always thought of myself as more of a logical, pragmatic person not at all inclined to do some of the crazy, artsy things that ‘creative’ people do. I have a cousin who’s creative. She teaches high school art, changes her hair color periodically–all that good stuff.

Turns out, though, that being pragmatic and logical is just another path towards being creative. I figured out a while ago that being pragmatic makes me a better writer.

First, I wrote some stuff. Then, I realized it was bad. But the pragmatic part of my brain figured there were ways to make myself better.

I read a bunch of books by professional writers about writing, I listened to the advice of my readers, and I kept practicing. I’ve gotten better. I think I can say that objectively.

If it weren’t for the pragmatic part of my brain, I would have quit all of this a long time ago. Writing this article isn’t getting me anywhere. Not measurably anyway. Ditto writing on my blog every day. Ditto writing short stories that are continually rejected by different magazines.