Being creative


Lilya Brik shown editing film in 1928.

Lilya Brik shown editing film in 1928. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have spent most of my working life doing the same sort of work in different settings. My first real job was as a photographic printer. I worked in a small studio for two groovy commercial photographers who did a range of advertising work. I was not only the printer, but also the delivery girl, receptionist and lunch getter. I may have even done the invoicing. I remember that one of the photographers spent most of his time in between jobs stripping down a rather large motorbike in the middle of the studio. It made a lot of mess.


I was queen of the darkroom on those days. I chose the best shots from a roll of film, developed and printed them and delivered the best of the best to the agency.  I was seventeen at the time. Later I worked in London as a colour printer. I had one client who was a big shot in the art world. He took photos of famous art works and my job was to reproduce these as colour prints that matched as closely as possible to the originals. One night we went to a famous private gallery after it had closed so that I could colour match the sample prints to the originals. It was a lot of fun.


My next job was in film editing. At the beginning there was not a lot of creativity or discretion, but as time went on I was able to make decisions about shots that worked and select music that brought things to life.


More recently I have worked as an educator, writer and presentation designer.


I have also done some training and coaching along the way, but despite my background, I persist with the idea that I am not terribly creative. Weird isn’t it? How many people get the chance to write and edit presentations and documents and get paid for it? What exactly does it take for someone to imagine themselves as a creative person?


Every day I hear people telling me that they can’t come up with ideas because they are ‘not creative’. If only they realised that the difference between a creative person and a ‘not very creative’ person is merely self-perception.


I know that my work has not been about coming up with original ideas for new films or books or web designs, but I honestly think that my decisions have been creative in their own small way. I think of myself as a backroom creative rather than one of those ‘out there’ types. More to the point, I think that it’s entirely possible that you are also quite a creative person and you’ve just undersold yourself.


I’ve been doing a little bit of an experiment at work. I’ve been pretending that I’m creative in an effort to see if the idea takes off. And amazingly it is! People have actually starting saying ‘you have lots of good ideas and that’s alright for you, but I’m not really that creative’. I find it hilarious. If only they knew that I’m not really that creative, I’m just pretending. The weird part is that the longer I pretend, the more prone I am to imagining that I am creative in my own little way.


If this strikes a chord with you, consider re-imagining yourself as a creative person.  I know that you probably feel a bit shy about commenting but I would really love to hear from you.