It was Jeff Goins who said, ”A creative is an artist. Not just a painter or musician or writer. She is someone who sees the world a little differently than others.

A creative is an individual. He is unique, someone who doesn’t quite fit into any box. Some think of creatives as iconoclasts; others see them as rebels. Both are quite apt.

A creative is a thought leader. He influences people not necessarily through personality but through his innate gifts and talents.”

With this quote in mind, here are my three tips to getting started as a young African creative.

1. You are creative

You were born with immeasurable gifts and talents, you influence through your gifts of leadership, communication and a unique way of seeing things. This is the first step; you must believe that you are. It’s not all about throwing paint on canvas or pumping out eBooks. That’s only part of it.

Do you do excel sheets like no one else can? Are your PowerPoint presentations clear and concise, leaving everyone stunned? Can you conjure up delicious meals with meagre ingredients? That, my friend is creative.

Untangle that knot in your head which says that you must ‘forget about your hobbies and concentrate only on getting a good job as an accountant/lawyer/doctor’. Do you know people are out here getting paid to wear different outfits every day? (Some do this while holding down a full-time job, but still… getting paid for that ‘I love to dress up’ hobby!)

YOU.ARE.CREATIVE.

Accept it, embrace it.

2. Your creativity often feels effortless but sometimes, it feels like it takes massive effort

Do you intrinsically and effortlessly know how to arrange flowers? Can you look at a plant and know exactly if it has had too much water or too little?

Let’s also say that you know how to arrange your office in a nice way, people always wander in and hang around, simply because you can decorate on a whim.

You know how to use eye-shadow colours everyone has written off as too bright for girls of colour but you… you know how to use it in the right amounts.

Or you’re a writer. Writing romance novels comes to you easily… but sometimes the words just don’t seem to come. You design nice clothes but some days it feels like you’ve designed it all, seen it all and you sit there looking at your sketchbook, uninspired.

You are a TV producer but you haven’t had a good idea develop in months. Everything is boring boring boring!

Understand that sometimes you are in the groove, and sometimes you’re in a funk. This is normal. You are always creative, but your creativity is affected by so many situations. For example, your attitude, how tired you are, how comfortable or uncomfortable you are in your surroundings.

3. You MUST learn to embrace criticism

We are the generation of, ‘Oh, you made this? Well, it didn’t speak to me, therefore, it’s not good enough.’ We are quick to write someone off if we don’t like their work.

We are also the generation that cannot take any form of criticism because ‘hating’ or ‘hateration.’ ‘She didn’t like my work; she is totally hating.’

Who made you the authority on all things?

When you receive criticism it is important to listen to it, and decide whether it is constructive or destructive.

‘I think what you made was great, and I think you could improve it like this’,  is constructive criticism.

‘This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen!’, is destructive criticism. I know you’ve seen it on popular TV shows, and we love to watch because we love to see other humans humiliated.

Criticism shows you what is working and not working about your creativity. It makes you better. Embrace it. Learn to pick out the good criticism to help you move along. The way you sit and patiently pick out the bad beans from the good ones is how you must treat criticism. With patience, and determination.

Go ahead, get started using your gifts , talents and those quirky things you wrote off as  hobbies. Use them to start a business and propel yourself to heights you never thought you could reach.

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