Creativity works in mysterious ways.  Creative thinking is a defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on the situation.  Inspiration and ideas often come to a creative person out of nowhere and then fail to show up when they’re most needed.  We’ve all heard of “writer’s block.”  Creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process. Science paints a complex picture regarding creativity.  As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think:  the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional.

In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works. While there is no “typical” creative type, they all share some distinct behaviors and characteristics.  Here are 7 of them:

1. They work when the creative spirit moves them

Just because a creative person doesn’t work 9 to 5 doesn’t mean they aren’t hard workers.  Many artists say that they do their best work either very early in the morning or late at night.

Frank Lloyd Wright made a practice of waking up at 3 or 4 AM and writing several hours before going back to bed.  An artist friend of mine sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night to paint something that he was dreaming about.

2. They aren’t afraid to fail

Resilience is practically a requirement for creative success.  Doing creative work has been described as a process of failing repeatedly until you find something that sticks.

Creative people, at least the successful ones, learn not to take failure personally.

3. They use painful situations for creative fodder

Many of the greatest stories and songs of all time have been inspired by pain and heartbreak.  Creative people have the ability to use their pain as a catalyst to fuel their creativity.

4. They love new experiences

Creative people love to expose themselves to new experiences, sensations and states of mind.  Then, they use these experiences in highly creative ways.

5. They’re incredibly curious

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s a necessity for the creative mind.  Creative people tend to be very observant and curious about the lives of others.

Creative types often love to people-watch, and they may get some of their best ideas from it.

6. They daydream

Creative people know that their best ideas seem to come out of nowhere, when their minds are somewhere else.

While many feel that daydreaming is a waste of time, scientists have found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.

7. They like to be alone

Creative people are often stereotyped as being loners.  While this may not actually be the case, solitude can be the key to producing their best work. Creative people need time alone to allow their minds to wander and get in touch with their creative inner voice.

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Creativity works in mysterious ways.  Creative thinking is a defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on the situation.  Inspiration and ideas often come to a creative person out of nowhere and then fail to show up when they’re most needed.  We’ve all heard of...