Friday, January 13, 2012

Rules for Creative Expression

CreativityImage by Mediocre2010 via FlickrBy Henrique Fogli

Creative expression does not come from divine inspiration, as most people tend to think. It is a challenging task that follows a process and is guided by rules.

Even though creativity is quite often associated with freedom of thought and divergent thinking, setting up ground rules for your creative piece is more relevant than one might think. And knowing about them helps us to understand creativity and, most of all, study and develop it.

But what are these rules? These are guidelines, paths for your imagination to follow.

You can see how it works with a simple exercise: if someone asks you to "write something for my personal blog", you might stay frozen in front of an empty, blank screen for a while longer than if they told you "write a review of your new music gadget for my personal blog". What changes here is just one creative rule - the person is actually giving you a topic to write about, specifying what your content should be.

These rules can be about anything, not only content, and go as deep as you can imagine. One might ask you to write a poem, with Alexandrine verses, with rhymes that follow an ABAB pattern, that talks about love, but expressing a frustrated voice. They can be about, for instance:

Genre - poetry, fiction, news, technical writing, academic article.
Form - sonnet, concrete poetry, short story, novel.
Structure - ABAB rhymes, divided in chapters, using a direct speech.
Content - love, passion, hate, sorrow.
Tone of voice, or point of view - frustrated, optimistic, liberal, conservative.

And those are just a few among many other rules that can be set up for creative writing. They can all be combined and mixed at will.

The same way it happens in writing, these rules can be applied to any artistic field - respecting, of course, the technical abilities and resources of each one of them. When deciding to shoot an artistic photo, one might choose between black and white or color, framing, light balance, the subject itself and many other techniques that can be used or not within the work in case. The same goes for music, painting, acting, filming and so on.

When you acknowledge the rules of these domains, you can evaluate more seriously all the creative work you see or hear, thus developing a better artistic sense inside the field. Apart from that, after you become familiar with these guidelines, it's easier for you not to be attacked by a creative block, which is nothing more than a moment when you can't simply select the rules for your work.

Rules on creativity are just a consequence of the creative process as a whole, not chains to enclose one's imagination.

Henrique Fogli is a generalist. He studied Marketing and Advertisement at University, finished, got bored and went for Literature. After that, he began to study music, and now he is up for drawing and acting - beginning his clown course.

He also worked cleaning toilets, as a barman and a bank clerk, tried working with photography and being a civil servant. Today he is working with web content and, apart from other things, he's talking about inspiration and creativity at

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