• Arthur Sempebwa

Why you're not being creative

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

“A creative” is a popular and often overused term in industries associated with media, tech, design and many more to describe someone who is (you probably guessed it) creative. These include but are not limited to; artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, producers, actors, speakers, coders and writers.

During my time as a full-time video editor for a tech startup, this term eventually became a source of irritation. Most of our lucrative clients worked with agencies that used our editing services to deliver high-quality content for all their social media platforms. The creative is the term used to describe a finished video. A brief would often start with “The CreativeKit provides creative assistance to clients through creative asset optimization.” Now, I can't tell you what that means because I still don't know it myself.

Hence the irritation. Just call it a video!

Sometimes when I meet new people and share what I do, someone always feels the urge to want to work with me on a project or refer me to someone in a related field. Sometimes, there’s a look in their eyes saying “I wish I could do that, but I’m just a school teacher”. Then they feel inspired to share what they’d love to do with their time if they could but eventually simmer back down into the “oh, but I don’t really know how to do it, i’m not that creative”.

Most people don't think they are creative — or talented

This is a problem. They perceive themselves as just being normal and that's fine. Or is it? Could normalcy be the pill one takes to sedate any genius thought from developing? Being ‘a creative’ isn’t limited to the popular or glitzy titles associated with working in media.

When we enter this world, we come with a raw imagination, brimming with untapped creative potential. I remember as kids growing up in Uganda we used to make our own toys. Instead of lego, we had wire, sticks and imagination. From this, we would make cars, dolls and action figures.

Oh but we didn’t stop there, no sir. Nothing beats finding a random car tyre, pouring some soapy water inside it, then shoving two long sticks on either side of it and racing it down a dusty road. That may sound a little primitive if you’ve grown up around toys all your life, but I call it innovation.

Young children can put a high demand on their creativity because there are no financial, cultural or social constraints hindering them.

Sadly as we get older the trials of life often sedate our imagination. We become more rational, logical and the word creative soon becomes a word used to describe aspiring artists, who don't have a real job.

Discussion on creativity with Kwesi Mills (best enjoyed full screen)

I like how Walter Issacson puts it in his (self titled) biography of Leonardo Da Vinci saying;

“Leonardo had almost no schooling and could barely read Latin or do long division. His genius was of the type we can understand, even take lessons from. It was based on skills we can aspire to improve in ourselves, such as curiosity and intense observation. He had an imagination so excitable that it flirted with the edges of fantasy, which is also something we can try to preserve in ourselves and indulge in our children.”

Sometimes we overthink simple things. Are you creative, yes. Will you now become the next Steve jobs or build the next Marvel studios—probably not.

Creativity is getting what's inside your head in front of your eyes and like with most things, what you create will improve with practice.

So off you go. Embrace your inner child. Create.

Hey, if you enjoyed this post I'd love to know what you think in the comments below. And if you want to share it...because you are an awesome human being, I will understand.


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