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Motivation And Creativity.

M. A. Collins, T. Amabile
Published 1998 · Psychology

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A popular stereotype of creative people is that they approach their work with a kind of crazed intensity, often forgoing sleep, food, and other seeming necessities of life in order to advance their creative work. Undoubtedly, this view is one source of the widespread belief that creativity stems from madness. Although the connection between creativity and insanity remains a controversial point, there is considerable anecdotal and empirical evidence that creative production does require a high level of motivation. For example, the novelist John Irving reported spending as many as 12 hours per day, for several consecutive days, while writing his novels. When asked what drove him to work so hard, even years after attaining wide readership, fame, and financial success, he replied: “The unspoken factor is love. The reason I can work so hard at my writing is that it's not work for me” (from an interview reported in Amabile, 1989, p. 56). What motivation drives creative activity? Is it generally based in the love that Irving describes? Does it derive from the desire to attain ever more wealth and fame, or are there other motivational forces at work? This chapter reviews theory and research on the motivation for creativity, revealing that, although creativity can arise from a complex interplay of motivational forces, motivation that stems from the individual's personal involvement in the work - love, if you will - is crucial for high levels of creativity in any domain.



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