Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Where Research and Reality Meet

I've been working my tail off, trying to hit a deadline on my upcoming parenting books, Quiet Kids. This is a book about parenting introverts. The research for it has been exhaustive. I truly feel like I am writing another dissertation.

Most of you that know me, know that I am as introverted as they come. I require quiet time to renew, get antsy in noisy settings or when there is too much kinetic energy streaming "at" me. So, conducting this research and writing this book as been filled with aha moments.

One thing that really hit me as I was researching came while reading Susan Cain's Quiet. If you haven't read this book, you really should. It is AMAZING!

Anyway, I was struck by her statement that collaboration kills creativity. I know from my own research into the creative process, that solitude is a necessary aspect of every creative endeavor. So why then do we foster the need for constant collaboration throughout our educational, business, and creative endeavors?

"If solitude is an important key to creativity," Cain writes, "then we might all want to develop a taste for it. We'd want to teach our kids to work independently, We'd want to give employees plenty of privacy and autonomy. Yet increasingly we do just the opposite."

Cain goes on to site the current, cutting edge, trend in collaboration as "must-do" aspect of problem solving. "None of us are as skilled as all of us" is the mantra by which we live our lives.

And I agree with the sentiment. But I also agree that creativity does not happen in the midst of collaboration. It happens in the wee small moments in between, when we are still and silent.

As artists, writers, we no the value of our solitary moments. We know what happens when we are not permitted the space, the time, the solitude in which to create our art.

But we also know something else - we know that we will be asked to market ourselves and our work. To branch into the uncomfortable and connect with the world. It's an exhausting thing for most artists, as I suspect creativity and introversion to be heavily correlated. But, it is an aspect of what we must do.

Which leads be back to Cain's original statement. While I agree that collaboration is not a catapult for creativity, and creativity is certainly something that is done in solitude, I also recognize that we, as artists, have to connect with the greater world now in order for our work to be seen.

Thank goodness the internet affords us the ability to do so without compromising our needs as introverts.

What do you think? Are you an introvert? Does collaboration kill creativity? What say you???

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