What is a creative professional?

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We hear the term ‘Creative Pro’ tossed around a lot these days.

In novice’s words, Creative Pro or Creative Professional is someone who creates unique content for others either as a full-time or part-time employee or as a freelancer.

Those contents could be anything which requires creative skills like article writing, making illustrations, creating videos, composing a piece of music, building a website, and etc.

Creative Pros have been around us for centuries, but the landscape has changed dramatically in just the last few decades. Here are my thoughts on what it means to be a ‘Creative Pro’.

Creative Pro
Creative Pro

First Thought: The Dividing Line is Blurry

There used to be quite the divide between what we viewed as “creative” stuff and then what we thought of as, well… everything else.

Creative stuff included artsy stuff: art creation, drawings, illustration, painting, sculpting, sketching, writing drafts, shooting videos, composing musics, building websites, and many more.

Then there was everything else, stuff that actually might have a lucrative future.

Generally speaking, if you had a ‘creative’ streak in you, it was considered great fodder for a side gig or hobby. Pursuing your creative interests as a career, though, brought your future finances and your present reasonableness into question.

The dividing line between “creative” and “non-creative” work is increasingly blurred, for several reasons.

1. The Definition of Creativity is Changing

As mentioned above, creativity as we understand it is not the same. The rise of the digital world in every aspect of our lives has fused form and function, merged design and tech, married creativity to business.

The more we learn about the brain, the more we find out about how creativity works in our minds – ALL of our minds. Some of us are more naturally adept at “allowing” creativity to function than others.

But all of us have creative ability, and use it in a myriad of ways.

2. Arts vs. Sciences aren’t So Versus Anymore

Neuroscientists doing investigative studies of how creativity functions in the brain is a great example of how the sciences and the arts can – and are – fusing rather than battling.

We’ve got artists composing and creating on the latest tech gadgets, writers digging into medical journals as research for their next novel, so on.

3. Creative Problem Solving is Everywhere

We use our intuitive and creative abilities in creative problem-solving scenarios, which could range from coming up with ways to innovate a manufacturing business to figuring out how to successfully conduct a scientific experiment over the course of decades.

These are fields that aren’t traditionally considered creative, yet they require creative approaches to unique and complex problems.

4. The Rise of the Knowledge Worker is Here

Peter Drucker talked quite a lot about the rise of the knowledge worker, and, well… Here we are.

There is an oingoing demand for people who are equipped to work with vast amounts of information and use their own knowledge, expertise, intuition, and creativity to use that information effectively.

Second Thought: Creativity Can Be Applied (in One Way or Another) to Any Kind of Work

Creativity is actually required in some types of work such as writing, painting, composing, illustrating, designing. It’s required because every output must be unique.

But creativity can be used even in a situation where the output is not required to be unique: say, making burgers at your local fast food place or manufacturing industrial machine parts.

In these cases, in fact, unique output is bad. Fast food restaurants want consistency, not uniqueness. Same with machine parts. They have to be made to spec, not to individual preference.

But the management & methods with which these non-unique outputs are formed can be creative, or can be enhanced and improved by creativity.

So in this case we have a lot of people working in professional, “non-creative” jobs who are able to effectively use creativity to improve the methods, management, relationships, processes, and so on.

Then – if creativity is not limited to creative/artistic pursuits – how do we define what a creative professional is?

Where are the lines that differentiate someone who uses creativity in her scientific job from someone who uses business smarts in her portrait-painting profession?

Third Thought: There are No Hard and Fast Lines

I have a personal definition, but it’s subject to interpretation and situation. At any rate, here it is:

A creative professional is someone whose job requires unique output on a regular basis.

This, of course, covers a lot of ground.

What do you think? How would you define a creative professional?

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