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Think of a good idea. Immediately. No. Faster than that. It’s tough, right?

Creativity is hard and it takes practice.

Creativity, often romanticized as an effortless burst of inspiration, is, in reality, a complex and challenging endeavor. It requires a combination of mental discipline, emotional resilience, and often, a departure from conventional thinking, which can be incredibly difficult to achieve and sustain.

One fundamental reason creativity is hard is the cognitive effort it demands. The brain must engage in lateral and unique thinking, where one idea generates multiple, unique solutions to a problem. This process is tough because there is rarely, if ever, a correct answer. Making creative and original work involves not just recalling existing knowledge but reconfiguring it in novel ways, which can be mentally taxing. This mental exertion can be hampered by cognitive biases and fixed mindsets that limit one’s ability to see beyond the familiar.

For many of the creative subjects in school we rightly teach a base level of skills which helps make creativity easier. Writing an original poem or drawing an original, creative drawing is almost impossible without the skills, technique, knowledge, information or tools required to do so. Try being a jazz pianist that can’t play piano!

The good news is that ideas are free and are flying around the world all the time, we just have to grab them and make them into something real using the skills we have, the skills we learn and fill the gaps to allow us to complete the challenge.

I was about 12 years old when a boy in my year called Michael Amos showed me some of his drawings. They were amazing. I was jealous of his skill and his originality. I can’t even remember what they were of, but I remember that what I saw motivated me to get better at drawing. That’s probably why I am where I am now. I loved the process of improving my drawing. It gave me the confidence to be creative.

It is worth noting that only once I felt that my artistic abilities were at a level I felt comfortable with, was I ready to be creative. I have no recollection of being creative before that. My friend Michael did not pursue art beyond the age of 16, maybe creativity was too hard?

Like everyone that has ever done anything it has been learnt from copying others. Creativity could be an exception. So, go ahead, practise creativity. Be original. Be brave. Make mistakes. Enjoy the process. It might not be easy; it’s not meant to be. It is definitely worthwhile.