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How creativity is not all it's cracked up to be (mini-rant alert)

Did I mention that I am a multi-passionate?

That I LOVE to have multiple things on the go, multiple projects to get on with at any one time?

Did I tell you that I love being creative?

How I believe that creativity (and doing something with your hands) is the key to good mental health and happiness?

That I am a great believer in creativity being the key to unlocking where you'd like to go next in your career, as being unhappy at work is an emotional problem that needs a creative, intuitive solution?


Well, best close your eyes and ears then.

Because I'm going to have a little mini-rant.

You see, some of you may know that I like to do a bit of painting and drawing*.

I specifically like to challenge myself by painting portraits. So after a long time in which I focused my Saturdays on other art work I decided to pick up a paint brush again.

I decided to paint the Rolling Stones. (You know, because why NOT start with not one but FOUR portraits, with some old guys with loads of wrinkles. Anyway).

Needless to say it didn't end well. Or rather, it didn't end at all. It's sitting on my easel. Smelling a ghastly smell of turpentine into my living room. Looking nothing like the Rolling Stones. Looking at me every evening. Sneeringly.

Sometimes creativity can be more of a curse than a blessing (which is the polite way of saying that sometimes creativity is a right pain in the a**).

But - having done painting and drawing for most of my life - I now know that this is how it goes.

That I have to go through the messy bits first. Get really fed up. Ready to chuck the whole thing in the bin (which would do wonders for the smell in my living room. I sometimes dream of having my own studio. Where I could paint and leak turps on the floor and smash canvases and could just close the door on portraits that sneer at you. The art that would be made! The mess! The room I would have .... But enough of the day dreaming!).

What I learn from doing creative things every single time is this:

* You cannot rush a creative process You get the best result by completely relaxing. By not being attached to the outcome. By trying to enjoy the process.

The lesson in this? Like any creative process it is no good being frustrated in where you are today. Because you are not there yet. You're still in the middle of finding your way, of trying things out, of figuring out next steps.

The middle part is always messy. But - at one point - all that mess will start clearing up. Things will start to make sense. A messy ball of wool will turn into clearly distinguishable strands. All the ideas in your head will neatly fall into place and you will know EXACTLY what to do next.

And a painting might (with a bit of luck) even start looking like the Rolling Stones!

* Being creative is a habit. A habit that you can cultivate. By having it visibly, inevitably, unmissably THERE. So that you can do nothing else than doing what you said you would do.

It means that you can PRACTISE being creative. That you make it a habit to let your creative brain take over. To find ways of letting your intuitive brain take the lead every once in a while.

I now KNOW that - one day soon - I will pick up my paint brush again and finish the painting. And it won't be too bad. Because it's there. In my living room. Glaring at me. Taunting me. Stinking of turps. Brushes nearby. All I have to do is squeeze some paint onto my palette.

I believe creativity is key to your career change. To creating ideas. To breaking out of your usual patterns.

You can't solve an emotional problem with a logical solution.

No instead, do what Elizabeth Gilbert says:

'Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results - the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen ...'

*If you're interested, you can see some of my artwork here: Tineke's art


Tineke Tammes is an ICF accredited Career Coach, who supports creative, multi-passionate, professional women in making successful career transitions! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler. Oh, and she knows a bit about change management too.

Join her now in Pick 'n Mix - the FREE community for creative, multi-passionate women or sign up for her newsletter.

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