In his creativity manual, The Users Guide to the Creative Mind, Dave Birss writes about what it means to be a creative person. He talks about misconceptions that we have regarding creative people, and gives us insights into his personality and what being creative means to him. In a quote he writes, “Being creative isn’t an occupation, it’s a preoccupation.” What he means is that creativity can not be turned on or off. For Birss being a creative person is a full time job. He is always being self aware and trying to identify his thoughts to keep track of his creativity.
Creativity is all about cultivating habits that will build new experiences and fulfill desires to be active. As a preoccupation, creativity is constantly about producing in new areas that expand ones thinking. The difference between an occupation and a preoccupation for creatives, is that creatives don’t end their work day and step away from what they do. Creatives walk away from one creative endeavor strait into another. In addition being creative means that you can always take something from one situation and apply it to another. Learning happens continually as you listen to people talk and provide opinions or ideas (in a constructive and non-pushy way) that come from other situations where you have encountered similar problems or obstacles. At the same time, Birss would argue that creative people constantly find ways to note what they have learned or new perspectives they have gained, so that they can return to those ideas and incorporate them into future activities.