By Sean Grace
Be Pumped you’re not the Commodity
With my 47 year old body spending most of last week screaming ‘I’m too old for this ?>:&!’ I decide to meet punishing schedule with military precision and give my body a boost by taking it to the early morning gym.
As we learn, the key to embedding any routine is to remove as many decisions as possible. So…Breakfast packed? Check. Lunch packed? Check. Gym gear packed? Laptop packed? Check, Check, check. You get the picture. Alarm set for 5.45, I dress, make coffee, uphaul the back load and hit the door by 6.10. No time to deviate or the whole plan is shot.
The payoff for hauling my sorry derrière to the gym at the ungodly hour is twofold. First the endorphins and serotonin that carry me through the day and buffer my mood against the knocks and bumps of school life. Secondly the smug assurance that he sets a goal and he sticks to it. But you’re not buying it I’m sure. ‘Why doesn’t he go later?’ you ask. No time. ‘Why not go in the evening?’ you reason. Too tired and no time. ‘Can it really be that difficulty I mean it’s only advertising’ you think to yourself. And there lies the problem.
The two hardest passions I’ve ever pursued have to be acting and advertising. Most British people think these are simultaneously so incredibly competitive you’ll never find a job in, and conversely so easy they’re nothing like real work. This couldn’t be further from the truth but it comes back to the issue of creativity.
Dave Birss summed it up best when he said that most people have the idea that creativity is the moment when the muses align and great ideas just flow out of you. But how wrong could that be? As Marc drills into us, creativity is more about ‘hard work beats talent.’ In fact, I’m starting to realise that doing, and keep on doing, the hard work IS a big part of the talent.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are moments when your first idea may be your best idea but you won’t know that until you’ve created your 97th idea. And that’s before we even bring in the issue of emotion. My fave you tube film maker vlogger summed it up recently. It’s the emotional toll of being a creative telling stories – bringing your personality into your work whilst not being afraid of failure. 6 weeks ago I would have thought ‘that’s interesting’ and move on. Now it reverberates so much with what we learn in school, it feels like someone opened a door to a room I’ve never known but that was there all the time, like a ‘creative conspiracy’ – only creatives know how taxing creating is.
There is a joke about people who are overly attached to their books. They read them, put them on a shelf and they say that’s my personality on that shelf. If the biggest perpetrators of the myth of the gifted creative are creatives themselves, it follows that their ideas are a bit like those old books. Cut them and they’ll cry ‘you’re killing part of me!’.
Problem is no-one gets this about creativity until they’ve been through this mill. Most government policy just perpetuates the old myths. How can you teach creativity after all it’s inherent and spontaneous? And you’ll never get a job so it’s not like a real subject. Plus what possible wider societal benefit can there be from these extra curriculars.
So it’s a tough gig, in an uncomprehending environment, but with time we’ll learn to kill our babies, whilst still nurturing them with our creativity. I guess we’ll come to see creativity as more of a commodity we need to sell on many levels and to put it out there as the best of of us without it being us. Given how badly some of us took the realisation our work is meant to sell things, I won’t break that C word just yet. All sounds like a lot more hard work so I better get back to that gym in the morning.