Over at Freelancentral this month we’ve been thinking a lot about creativity. What inspires people to make beautiful things? What do we get from doing it? And what impact does it have on other people?

Article by Jo Duxbury

Many people think the work we do at Peppermint Source is creative. Yes, we conceptualise strategies for companies and brands, and come up with ideas and copy all the time. But it’s all done within certain parameters. A good opinion piece needs to tick certain boxes. There’s a ‘right’ way of planning a marketing campaign. And there are definite rules for using social media (we even run workshops on them!).

So while marketing is perhaps more creative than other fields (like, say, accounting…), it’s still done within very defined parameters and processes.

People like rules. And they’re imposed on us from early in life. I think I stopped doing creative work at the end of Standard 7 (that’s Grade 9 if you were born after the 1970s). That was the point where school got serious: I had to pick the subjects I’d do for Matric, which would determine The Rest Of My Life. So I dropped Art in favour of less creative fields like Geography, Biology, Physical Science and Maths. Because those would give me more options.

More options, but less well-roundedness. Less fun. Less creativity.

Some people make creativity their career. Others pursue creative hobbies. However you find it, it’s important to have a creative outlet or a passion. If you can make this your work, wonderful! But if not, where do you get it?

I always love discovering what people’s ‘secret talent’ is. The passion, hobby, interest or other extra-curricular activity that you wouldn’t immediately guess about them. Often it’s amazing and surprising to discover what it is.

I once worked with a client who was a quiet, unassuming technical project manager – who composed symphonies in his spare time. Symphonies! By night, our own Mint, Louis, is in a successful rock band. My best friend is a big animal lover and between working as a medical specialist and looking after my godson, she runs a hugely popular Facebook page for lost and found pets.

If you’re reading this thinking ‘But I’m just not creative’, then please watch this TED talk. Because everyone is creative. It’s not about whether you can draw. We’re just so entrenched in doing things the way they have to be done. The way society tells us is right. And once we uncover our own ‘secret talents’, we become much happier, multi-dimensional, interested and interesting.

Do you have a ‘secret talent’? What’s your creative outlet? Is it important that you have one? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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