Disorganized ≠ creative

Recently, one of my bosses referred to one of my colleagues, a salesmen, as creative, in comparison to me.


This happened last week, and I’ve barely stopped drinking whiskey and slamming my head on every available surface since then.

I don’t talk about my writing or blogging at work often, because frankly, I don’t care for most of my coworkers. The ones I like know about both, because I’m not ashamed of the things I love. But to be called less creative than this salesman, who rarely thinks more than one sale ahead…

In truth, I understand why my boss said what she said. There are many kinds of creativity, and this salesman is creative in a highly specialized (and highly profitable) way. That’s where she could have been right.

But that’s not why she said it. She called my colleague creative because he’s disorganized, whereas I am not, and excuse me while I get the whiskey I need to drink this crippling misunderstanding away.

Listen carefully, my friends: disorganization does not equal creativity. Do you know what disorganization equals? Disorganization. Not very helpful, but true. It’s not a sign of anything but itself, and even if creatives are more likely to be disorganized—which I don’t buy, at least among the successful ones—correlation not implying causation.

Being organized, like being creative and most other skills, is a choice. It’s a choice my colleague has never made, whereas I have. In my pursuit of writing fiction, I had to—otherwise I would never get anything done. But because my colleague is talented, he never had to make that choice.

Disorganization does not equal creativity. If you think it does, you’re wrong. Both are choices, and what choices you make will determine how successful you will be in your chosen endeavors, creative or not.