Your Own Good Taste May Be Holding Back Your Creativity — Here's Why

Updated: March 16, 2012

Will Kemp

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It's the one thing that the experts don't tell you.

The hard truth about becoming a creative, and the biggest problem you have to overcome.

It could be holding you back from your next great masterpiece and you don't even know it.

What is this mysterious thing stopping you from your creative destiny? Lack of time, talent, or training?

No, It's your good taste. And it's killing your progress.

A Matter of Good Taste

Did you ever dream of playing in a band one day? Of dusting off that guitar in the corner and really going for it?

You have an ear for good music and an immensely tasteful record collection, so what's the hitch?

What about starting up as a photographer? You can spot a killer photograph a mile off and know your ISO from your F stop.

So why do you have a large collection of close up shots of flowers with blurry backgrounds and some freeze frame star jumps? The creative switch hasn't clicked.

And you wonder to yourself, is it just you.

So you put it down to bad luck, a wrong fit, a new job.

You put it to the side, get realistic, and quit.

Learning how to be creative

I teach beginners how to draw and paint, and one of the biggest hurdles is getting people through the "my painting looks really bad" stage.

The thing is, all paintings go through this stage. Every time.

They start really quickly, they look fresh and exciting and you make great steps forward, but then they hit an ugly point.

Nothing looks right, you begin to get what I call “painters panic” and try to fix the problem. It ends up looking even worse the more you do and you feel despondent, disappointment, and despair.

Not quite the tranquil relaxing experience you were after. This is where most beginners start to look for a new hobby.

Why? Because there is a time gap between your taste and your creative skill, and you stopped before your skills caught up.

Ira glass posted an amazing series on this subject in relation to storytelling, I saw it first a few months back and it inspired me on to start creating films and learning to edit even though my initial attempt fell well below my expectations. But it taught me to stay strong and keep doing the work, even when you know it's not your true potential. (I've just hit 80,000 views in 6 months on my Youtube channel, thanks Ira.)

I think his quote in the video below sums it up perfectly. (The text is below the video as well.)

Ira Glass on Storytelling on Vimeo.

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.

But there is this gap.

For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.

We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."

How to fast track your creativity

So now you're left with a dilemma, you know there is a gap but you don't have the time. How do you fast-track your creativity when you don't have 2 years for your taste to catch up?

What if you want to get more creative, boost your blog traffic, have fame, and make a fortune?

You have to seek out expert advice.

An expert eye on your work can be the difference between giving up or breaking through.

Want to learn how to build a blog that matters? Corbett's your man. I loved how Scott Dinsmore went from a couple hundred visitors a day and was going to give up but then turned it around by working with Corbett and hit a $31,000 product launch.

Want to get more productive as a creative, go see Mark Mcguiness. One of his students published her novel direct to Kindle, reached No.2 on the New York Times Bestseller List, selling well over 200,000 copies.

Want to learn to draw? Well, that would be my department.

I can't promise you untold riches, just a new way of seeing the world and a new way to engage your creative brain.

Working with an expert is one of the quickest way to progress. Sure, it will cost you more in the short term than hours of searching on Google, but you need to put a value on your time, because that's the one thing that you get less of every day.

So dust off that old guitar, dig out those baking recipes, unwrap that box of paints, and start creating things that you like.

Forget perfect, aim for fun, make loads of mistakes, and then seek out a little extra help.

Over to you

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