Creativity Without Talent

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about creativity and what it means to be creative. If a stranger asked me today if I was a creative person, without skipping a beat I would say no. I don’t consider myself a creative person. When I think back to secondary school, I didn’t enjoy the creative subjects. Art, music, drama (cringe!), creative writing, I could do well enough to pass but no one ever told me I was good at any of them, and there were certainly lots of people who were far better than me, so I stopped trying. It wasn’t my thing.

Years later, as an adult with a job and a fiancé, a little flat and a cat, I started seeking out ways to be creative. I tried card making, knitting, sewing, baking and cross stitch, amongst other things. I think each time I was thinking that maybe this would be it, the creative thing that I would be good at. But each time I gave up. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, and not because I couldn’t do it, but because I wasn’t as good as other people, I wasn’t a master at it, I was just average. I was frustrated at not being able to achieve perfection. So what was the point? And it’s embarrassing to make things that are a bit rubbish isn’t it? Because surely everybody will just think why did she bother?

And so I resigned myself to the fact that I’m just not creative. I might have a go at following a Pinterest tutorial to make something every now and again, but creating something all of my own was not for people like me.

Fast forward to now and starting this blog and I’ve begun dabbling in photography and videography. Even just crafting a blog post is creative when you think about it, thinking of words and writing them down, creating myself a little place on the Internet. But again the thoughts start to creep in, I’ll never take photos as good as her, my videos aren’t nearly as professional as so and so, I can’t even begin to write as well as who’s her face…. I’m just not creative enough for this. But this time I’m brushing them aside.

Because I think all this time I’ve been confusing creativity with talent.

Am I super talented at any of the creative pursuits I’ve tried so far? Sadly no. But do I enjoy the process of creating something from nothing? Yes! Do I have an urge to make things? Yes! (especially mini humans).  Do I love the feeling of having something that is a little bit of me out in the world? Yes!

I don’t know where I got this idea from that you can’t be creative if you don’t have talent, because it’s a load of old rubbish isn’t it? I mean anybody can be creative can’t they? All you have to do is have an idea, and make something.

So what if I make skirts with wonky stitching or my photos are over exposed, or my blanket has dropped stitches? There’s so much joy to be found in being creative, choosing colours and patterns, designing something, composing a photo…. I don’t want to miss out because of my insecurities about what other people might think.

I want to set a good example for my children too, I never want them to give up on being creative because they can’t achieve perfection. I want to encourage my children to value creativity for creativity’s sake. I want them to find the joy in experimenting and trying things out, with no pressure to achieve anything apart from trying an idea.

My blog is far from perfect, but it’s perfect for me. It’s my collection of stories and pictures and videos of my family and our life, and I’m proud of it and so thankful for it. It’s my way of being creative and it’s my time capsule of memories for the future.

I’ve realised that actually, I am a creative person. Being creative makes me happy, and you should always do what makes you happy, and never be worried that someone else might think it’s worthless.

That’s what I want to teach my children, and so that’s how I’m going to start living.

And I’ll leave you with some of my favourite, least rubbish photos….

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10 Comments

  1. Sarah Alsford
    May 20, 2016 / 8:45 am

    I think you were fantastic at art, drama and music at school! 🎼🎭🎨 xxxx

    • Louise
      May 20, 2016 / 8:57 am

      Sure! And P.E. 😂😂😂 xx

      • Sarah Alsford
        May 20, 2016 / 5:06 pm

        I think we made some super good things in art!xxx

  2. May 20, 2016 / 9:04 am

    I always love your photos! Such an interesting post too. I think this is a really important thing, and why a lot of people stop with creative pursuits as they get older. So much of creating something is not about the end product as much as the joy you get from the process. I was always into the creative subjects at school, and I studied music at uni, but somewhere along the line I lost that joy in the pursuit of perfection (watching a lot of your contemporaries heading off to forge highly successful international careers is quite a hard thing for the ego too!). Now I sing for myself, and for the joy of singing, and I think I’ve recaptured some of this again. It’s something that I really want to teach my children – to enjoy the process.
    Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…A wet and windy trip to Wheal CoatesMy Profile

  3. May 20, 2016 / 9:18 am

    I’m a bit line you, I think. I always want everything to be perfect, and it frustrates me when I do something and it’s not totally flawless. I upcycle a lot of furniture and I really enjoy the process and the finished product, but I always focuss on the little imperfections like a small paint drip or where the wallpaper isn’t quite lined up at the back of a display cabinet. Drives me mad! But, like my blog (which is not as good as A LOT of people’s, of course) I refuse to give up because I enjoy creating. I think you’re doing fine, and I’m sure your children will learn a lot just from the fact that you’re willing to try new things and put a piece of yourself into the making of them. X

  4. May 20, 2016 / 10:15 am

    Yes. This is me too! I’m sure I’d be a lot happier if I stopped comparing myself to others. Creativity is about making something new and unique to you. It’s taken me a long time to appreciate that my contributions are just as valid as anyone else’s. I’m learning to embrace imperfection and to learn from others without comparing myself to others.

  5. May 20, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    Yes, yes and yes! You have summed it up really well for me. I need to remember this, I’m always comparing myself and have started to try and just remember what I love doing and stick with that. X
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Tips for Flying with Children…My Profile

  6. May 21, 2016 / 4:44 am

    It’s so hard not comparing yourself to someone else. Think there is a quote somewhere, don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. I may have got that wrong but you get the gist! I think it takes being older and probably a mother too to realise our worth and have a go at new things. I think your blog is fab and see you as a creative person, plus you share it with your kids! 😀
    Karen recently posted…Light PlayMy Profile

  7. May 21, 2016 / 7:45 pm

    Such a brilliant post Louise! So, so true. I was at WorkFest last Saturday and the key note speaker’s entire speech was on this very topic. He spoke about how society has created this idea that talent is a positive, something to be praised and to strive for. But actually, when you look at the industries that favour talent (Sports, the Arts, even Medicine and Stock Traders) they are not only less happy on the whole, but they don’t progress in the same way that industries that cherish learning as the highest form of their art.

    Aviation, he said, for instance, apparently when something goes wrong (e.g., a plane crashes) a pilot will volunteer a report of what he perceives he or the crew or the aircraft or the weather did wrong to result in the worst case scenario. Because in aviation, the collective goal is to learn – whether that be from research, from weakness or from experience. Pilots aren’t perceived as talented, even if once upon a time they were the celebrities of their field. They’re seen as skilled, well practised, intelligent – but never talented within the industry. No one has a ‘god given right’ to be there in aviation.

    And I think that’s the same with what you’re saying above. If it’s talent you seek, you’ll never find it. Because arguably, you must be born with talent. But if actually you work at something – like us bloggers do for the love of the craft – then automatically, over time, you’ll get better and improve.

    Thank you by the way – in forming a response to your post without thinking about it, I’ve managed to put my thoughts together coherently (I hope!) about WorkFest in a way I’ve been struggling to for a post all week! So now I’ll be off to write my blog post about WorkFest!
    amiecaitlin | findingourfeet recently posted…Conversations with Little Miss No. 3My Profile

  8. Joanna
    November 15, 2016 / 5:09 am

    The pictures are lovely. It reminds me that we are all creative as kids – we still have it in us and one reason we feel unfulfilled in work is because we do not let ourselves express that creativity. Just my opinion.

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