I believe that being creative is having a strong sense of how to create. This has to be understood that it isn't just creating in the sense of making something based off of something existing previously; better known as imitation. I understand creativity as a quality that is connected to innovation, where something new or different has been introduced1. The verb create is defined as so: to make, form, set up, or bring into existence (something which has not existed before); to produce (a work of imagination or invention; an artefact)2. An invention that has not existed before is the correct and true type of creation. That is how the word should be used; when one creates something completely new, such as an idea never thought of before in that context.
The root of the word create can be taken back to the classical Latin word creāre which means to procreate, to give birth, to bring life into this world2. The Greeks used to believe that creation was something only possible by a God3, so we can understand why the ability to create could only be applied to women for bringing life into the world; fundamentally this godly act. While this still reflects some aspects of the modern word, I believe the use has changed. Today, we understand that humans have the capability of creating as well, and not just expressions of godly acts such as creating life.
This brings me to the saying: to think outside of the box. This is exactly what creativity is; this model is a more progressed idea of how to use the word. Instead of just ascribing the term to a God, here we can understand that our sense of creating is our ability to think outside the box. Going back to the idea of imitation versus innovation, whatever is inside this metaphorical box is previously created ideas that we can just reuse. When you venture outside this box and leave its borders you are now in the domain of the unknown. If you are capable of bringing something back into the box from the outside, to purely think creatively, that is when you truly create.
To properly use this word, I believe it must be used where one has created something completely original. I don’t believe you can create iterations of something, but you can definitely create the original idea which is the source for the iterations.
For some to create is to destroy, to build then tear down then rebuild over and over. You only need to look at nature and the seasonal cycle to see it. To give an example that is relevant to all of us – if you pick up a pencil and sketch, you have in effect destroyed the pencil in its form in order to create the mark. When it comes to the growth of our population, of our living habitat, we create infrastructure, we create cities, and we destroy so much in the process.
1. "innovation." Dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/innovation?s=t (accessed November 20, 2012).
2. "create, v.." Oxford English Dictionary. http://oed.com/view/Entry/44061?rskey=amA44L&result=2&isAdvanced=false#eid (accessed November 20, 2012).
3. "Creativity." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity (accessed November 20, 2012).