Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Creativity lessons by Sue Irving 14th July 2015

“You have got away with it once, but if you do it again, they will search for someone who sticks to the brief. And anyway you don’t want to draw people’s attention to what you have produced so far.” My inner critic is up in arms that I have decided to write about my photography project once again. 

I have got to know her a lot better since taking up the challenge of taking a photo every day six weeks ago. My inner critic may act like a diva, looking for constant admiration and adulation, but underneath all her temper tantrums she is deeply insecure and afraid of taking risks. She has been wounded by past criticism. However, trying to appease my inner critic and playing it safe only colludes with her illusion that perfection is desirable and achievable. If I want to grow, I need to learn to step outside my comfort zone.

There are some other lessons I have learned about being creative:

1.      Many so called mistakes can be redeemed. Maybe a piece of work does not work as a whole, but there may be a detail that tells an exciting story. I am now reminding myself to look more closely before discarding anything.

2.      If I am waiting for inspiration to get any creative work done, I may have to wait a very long time. The inspiration often comes in the doing. Some of my best work has been created on the days when I was unmotivated, but accepted the daily challenge anyway.

3.      If I think I already know a subject inside out, I may miss what is really going on. It is amazing how often my perspective has changed when I have stopped and asked myself: “What am I not noticing?” or “Is there another way of looking at this?”

4.      There is never “nothing” to write about or photograph. While I may not be able to produce “high art” every day, the daily honing of my skills makes it more likely that a masterpiece is going to be produced eventually.

5.      Even on the really busy days, there will be time to do something creative. I just have to be disciplined enough to grasp the opportunity.


About the author:
Sue Irving is the co-ordinator for the Creative Communicators in Petersfield. Pictures from the photography project can be seen at

To check out Ken Scott’s work, go to

Sue has co-written a book with her husband John about their experiences when climbing Kilimanjaro. How to conquer a mountain: Kilimanjaro lessons is available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon, with all proceeds going to charity.  

1 comment:

  1. I love your thoughts on creativity. It inspires me to knuckle down and get on with it, now that school has broken up (today, for me). Great post.