Are you a creative person? Given the nature of my website I suspect that almost all my readers would regard themselves as creative in some way – and if not actively creating themselves, then appreciating, encouraging and inspiring the creations of others. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here, right? In fact I agree with Rod Judkins when he says that we all of us have the potential to be creative. I would go even further and say that humans are instinctively creative or we would not be where we are today, with an advanced society that generates so many amazing ideas in every area of life.
But maybe you are reading this and thinking ‘Pah, I don’t feel very creative. At least, not as creative as I’d like to be.‘ Well, fear not for help is at hand with the aid of Change Your Mind: 57 Ways To Unlock Your Creative Self from Hardie Grant, a nifty little yellow book by the aforementioned RCA fine arts graduate Rod Judkins, who lectures in creative thinking at places such as Central Saint Martins. According to Judkins self belief accounts for 90% of success, and this book is here to bolster just such a positive outlook when it comes to creative thinking.
I must admit when I first saw this book I thought it might just be a lot of hot air like so many others of this ilk, but it proved me wrong. Sure, it’s petite, pretty to look at and easy to digest, either by dipping in and out of for inspiration, or in just an hour or two wholesale. But it also contains plenty of great ideas backed up by handy quotes from famous people and interesting historical facts.
‘Do not see failure as a sign of defeat, but one of many stepping-stones to success.’
Some ideas are more controversial than others, for instance Judkins implores us to embrace technology – or risk being overwhelmed by it. There are probably many determinedly luddite artists who disagree with him. He also says that ‘People will support someone with a passion. They will want to help you and money will be part of that help.‘ Having run Amelia’s Magazine for nigh on ten years, during which time I’ve had no great offers of financial worth, and indeed have barely scraped together a living, I’m not sure I wholly agree with this postulation: it might give people false hope. But then again, I am a living breathing example of passion driving someone forward or I wouldn’t be writing this today: I run Amelia’s Magazine because I can’t help myself.
‘Don’t look for fashion in a clothes store or history in a museum. Look for fashion in a grocer and history in a funfair.’
Many of the snappily titled mini chapters undoubtedly offer good advice: creatives are urged to Live the Dream, to let their minds wander to create the stuff that our world is made of. Collaborate, innovate, don’t find excuses for why you can’t create, make sure you hang out with people who encourage you, not those who pull you down. Don’t strive to be original, when producing imitations often sparks the creation of brand new work. One of the most fascinating elements of this book are the little details such as the fact that Francis Bacon copied Picasso: you can imagine Judkins entrancing his students as he metes out these tidbits in his lectures.
‘To live creatively you have to surround yourself with things that interest you…Most creative thinkers are collectors, often of esoteric object.’
I particularly like this quote: manna to someone like me, an inveterate hoarder who has a house full of stuff that I’ve collected just in case I may need to use it in a project one day. In the next breath though, we are urged to make our workplaces streamlined… that one I could do with working on. The book ends with the comment that ‘While everyone else is thinking of reasons why a task is too difficult, impossible, the creative are thinking of reasons why it’s possible.’ So, what are you waiting for?
If you need anymore persuasion why not pick up a copy of Change Your Mind for yourself? It’s a pleasure to read and I’m fairly sure it will get those creative juices flowing. And if you are in need of more practical help, there’s always the Startup Showcase from the School for Creative Startups: on this weekend at Somerset House. There’s a fascinating array of speakers including my mentor Patricia van den Akker of The Design Trust.
All images courtesy of Change Your Mind: 57 Ways To Unlock Your Creative Self, published by Hardie Grant.
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