Reasons not to be cheerful…

5 Jun

Excuses not to be creative I’ve been given, and why I don’t accept them

I don’t have any money

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A project I did on recycling at college – I refused to spend any money, and worked with soap, apples, paper, lolly sticks, and stuff I was given.

This is such a cliched response, but “neither did cavemen” – now that’s out of the way and I can stop feeling nauseous, let’s look at that. What exactly do you need money for? Pete Fowler has recently had an exhibition of his work which he’s drawn on his junk mail with a felt tip. Everyone in the world has a pen, or access to a pen or pencil, and if you truly haven’t go and steal one from a hotel, or an ikea, or a betting shop – hell, come to my shop and I’ll give you a pen if you really don’t have one.

If you want a free creative outlet without writing or drawing, fold your junkmail – if you’re reading this, you’re online, so go and find an origami tutorial. There’s no better feeling than managing to fold something flat into a 3D object. I can barely do origami, but it doesn’t stop me trying. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know this, as the whole of January was basically me folding paper and showing photos of how bad I am.

Don’t forget, if you’re online, you can always just go and write something, whether it’s public or not. There’s free blogs all over the place, and if you don’t want anyone else to see it, just use whatever writing programme is installed on your device. I tend to forget myself that writing poetry and prose is creative, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I don’t have any time

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Done on a lunchbreak using an iPhone app

Here’s where we need to examine what you mean. If you have a desk job which keeps you busy all day, you should still get a lunchbreak – you should use this time to eat away from your desk, and interact with people, anyway, and I know a lot of you don’t. However, you can also use this time to fit in a bit of doodling, or writing. I wrote a novella while I worked at an estate agent (I didn’t have a computer at home) by using my lunchtime to open up a word document and adding to it every day. It was rubbish, but who cares, no one saw it.

There’s always time to fit in creativity. I’m editing this blog while waiting for my morning coffee to cool, I draw while watching a film, I make jewellery at work (although that is my job I suppose). If you have children you’re well away – more later.

I can’t draw (or whatever else)

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Look! I can’t draw either!

I’m going to tell you something you already know, but you need to remember it – absolutely no one is born with the talent to do anything. We’re all wriggling fleshballs when we’re born, with only the skill of breathing which has taken nine months in the womb to develop. We’re taught to eat, talk, walk, everything else, by our parents, and the learning carries on throughout school, university, work… If you’re reading this, you’ve learnt to read, but you weren’t born with that ability.

Drawing is putting an implement on a surface – everyone can do it. Whether you’re any good at it is a whole other issue, like it is with everything else. You’re going to tell me you were rubbish at art at school now aren’t you? So was I – I’m still not that good. My art teacher was totally unaware that I had any interest in art at all, until I said I wanted to do art A level. She was a great teacher, who was more interested in me being passionate about art than whether I could draw a photo realistic picture.

I’m personally not a big fan of David Hockney’s work – but I have a hell of a lot of respect for him as an artist. He embraces new technology, such as his iPad paintings, and seems to play with ideas and media. He can’t draw though, and I hope he wouldn’t mind me saying that.

I’ve tried before and it looked rubbish

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This project was disastrous – it looked nothing like I expected, and it took me ages to get it to this piece of crap.


I suppose I should write more than that… but I’m finding it difficult to, because I literally don’t understand that attitude towards being creative.

I guarantee you, every single artist and writer in the world has sketchbooks and drafts up to their armpits full of stuff which is rubbish. There are very few people for whom everything turns out perfectly first time, and those people can be counted on the fingers of one hand – Leonardo Da Vinci is probably the most famous.

Finally, make this your mantra – process not product.

I don’t have children/I’ll feel silly

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A couple of years ago, I watched a TV thing on Anish Kapoor – I then spent about two hours squeezing mustard on a yellow piece of paper and photographing it. This is one of the 40 photos I took.

This is the most used reason, and the one which is easiest to dispell. If you don’t have children, and you’ll be doing it alone, then who’s going to see you?

Whilst having children seems to make people regress themselves as they enjoy building things with lego, or set up doll houses, once the children grow up, the parents don’t carry on doing this, and even tell their children it’s ‘babyish’ to carry on playing with those things. There’s no wonder we all start to feel ‘silly’ when we’re older and we still love the feeling of dipping our fingers in paint. There’s no upper age limit on doing anything, or at least there shouldn’t be.

I’m not ashamed to say I love the Charlie and Lola magazine – the illustrations are beautiful, and it always comes with a craft kit.

What will I do with it afterwards?

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If you’ve known me a while, you’ll remember me making this skeleton out of socks. It’s eight feet tall. It’s currently in a ball on my futon, with a cat sleeping on it

There are three main things to do with something you’ve made, either when you’re a child or an adult

  1. give it to someone (or sell it if it’s good enough)
  2. keep it
  3. throw it away

About 20% of what I spend time making is good enough to sell. The rest is hanging around my house, or other people’s houses, or in the bin. Every now and again I have a clearout, and stick a load of things in a big box, whether they’re things I’ve made or craft stuff I haven’t used or don’t like using, and sell it on eBay.

So, what’s your excuse? Think I haven’t heard it, or don’t have an answer? Try me.

One Response to “Reasons not to be cheerful…”


  1. #Regram of the last 9 days | Cheery Little Thing - 23/07/2013

    […] though, I’d seen blogs from Chloe about how easy it is to make excuses to not be creative and I realised that I’d been avoiding drawing. I was inspired and decided to doodle a duck […]

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