My definition of creativity has always been “Taking what you’ve got and figuring out how to turn it into what you need.” In order to do that, you need to skill, and some experience. Sure, sometimes things just fall into place, sometimes there are happy accidents, sometimes the clouds part and the sun shines down on you and you suddenly get a brilliant idea from out of the blue. Most of the time, a creative breakthrough happens because you’ve practiced, and practiced, and practices, and you’ve seen a lot of things, done a lot of things, and taken all together that gives you the insight to picture something different, something new, something creative.
Picasso, as my wife Katie is fond of saying, did not wake up one day painting cubist masterpieces. He had to learn how to paint using traditional methods, to see in traditional ways. You have to know the rules, inside and out, backward and forward, before you understand how to break them, and to see where they can best be broken.
For more thoughts on this topic, visit my spiritual brother Gary E. Weller at his blog http://geweller-fiction.blogspot.com