Creativity is just Hard Work!

It’s a common belief that creativity is a natural skill that not all of us share but research tells us it’s a learnt skill. Just because there are people who are more predisposed to creativity doesn’t mean we don’t all have it. It’s about putting it into practice and the more you practice the better you become.

Creativity may be art, music, acting, writing, cooking, business ideas, inventions; whatever it is, it’s how you get in touch with who you really are and why it’s so important. We are all unique so what we create has the potential to be unique also.

Being creative doesn’t mean starting from scratch. It’s about being observant and mindful of the world around us, understanding when something resonates with us. When we make this link with something that fires us up, we have the start of something that we can focus on, analyse why we are attracted to it and work on in a multitude of ways. When all the ways of working with this concept have been exhausted for the time being, it’s good to leave it for a while and let it ferment naturally in its own time. In time it will percolate to the forefront of the mind usually with a burst of ideas and energy.

However, just because you’ve found your burst of inspiration and you’re ready to begin work, it doesn’t mean it will all be plain sailing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve marched into my studio brimming with ideas and enthusiasm to look with despair some time later at the most dreadful painting because nothing came together in the way I imagined. Be prepared to create rubbish! Sorry, but this is all part of the process. It really is important you keep going no matter how awful what you are producing is. Just get it out there. Once you’ve taken the plunge and completed the work, you either have something good enough, or more likely, something to work with that you can respond to. Incomplete work makes that much harder as you’re missing so much information.

You must also work regularly and consistently and do tons of it. This will help you work towards your ambitions with purpose and keep improving your skills. Producing a huge volume of work, no doubt most of it substandard to begin with, means there are more gems to find hidden in it, and as your standard constantly improves there will be more gems than rubbish.

The toughest part of all is letting go of judging your work. You really aren’t the best judge of it and you should leave that to others and just keep producing. We are natural self-critics and rarely feel what we produce is good enough, but very often others don’t agree. That self-criticism can be very destructive, make you despondent and stop you in your tracks. Don’t let it. It’s important to share your work, that’s what creativity is about and it makes the world a richer place. It can also give you important feedback and spur you on to produce even better work. Of course you are risking negative criticism too, but take Brené Brown’s advice on that and don’t accept it from anyone who hasn’t put themselves out there and left themselves open to judgement also. Criticism is good if it’s delivered in a constructive and helpful way so that it helps you to improve. If it’s cruel and negative it’s worth diddly squat and should definitely be ignored.

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