The Truth About Adults & Creativity. (And What You Can Do About It)

The Truth About Adults & Creativity. (And What You Can Do About It)

I thought I’d share a non-snowy pic today, just to mix things up, you’re welcome. Our house, one evening last summer. I can almost smell the air. I like old-fashioned flowers and modern people. Never the other way. This post, The Truth About Adult Creativity, And What You Can Do About It, is related to that notion.

Today I’ve been studying. And the following is an excerpt from my course (Art Therapy) notes some of you may find interesting, encouraging, sad, or disturbing. Read on to see what I mean. (paraphrased for brevity – ish)

‘When adults begin with artistic activities they expect immediate results and when they do not achieve the desired results right away they become frustrated and their creative process is blocked.

Generally in the first six years of learning, most people feel unsatisfied with their work and are frustrated a lot of the time.

It is important to remember that even the work done by people we consider genius took them periods of ten years to complete regardless of whether learning began in early childhood or later.

Even for those considered ‘geniuses’ it is necessary to have experience and previous learning which does not come from simply learning technical skills and acquiring knowledge but from experience.

Regarding expressive creativity, and provided the participants have not done artistic activities before, young adults 20 – 25 and then 24 – 40 express less conditioned responses that those adults of 40 or 50 years old, when they start to experience greater blocks and inhibitions, which become more prominent at about 50 years of age and up.

At around 50 years of age, culturally stereotyped patterns are developed which means that participants at these ages are more interested in the visual result rather than originality.

The fear of looking ridiculous is usually the most common characteristic at the beginning of the artistic learning process.’

Well, no surprises there folks but plenty of food for thought.

Did you know that most peoples artistic/creative skills are not developed past the age of 9 or 10? That was certainly true in my case. I had to start again at 39. Every day since then, I’ve surprised the hell out of myself.

Another sad point is that adults give children the idea that artistic pursuits are only for some people. We all felt that right?
Lets stop doing that.

Oh, and did you know that our decline in creativity starts from the time we enter school? Don’t get me started, we’ll be here all night.

One BIG takeaway here for those of you getting started with creative goals, or wanting to get started, is if you pick up writing or art for the first time, as an adult, or for the first time since childhood, you can’t expect it to be good for a long time. But we do expect that. We equate practice with everything else, but not with art or writing. It’s madness.

In the words of Maya Angelou…

‘Some critics will write ‘Maya Angelou is a natural writer’ – which is right after being a natural heart surgeon.’

We’ve been conditioned into ideas of genius, innate talent, and the myth, of the overnight sensation. And we’re so used to seeing only the end result of years of work we have little understanding of the process. I think if you wrap your head around that it will really help you on your journey.

Lower your expectations to being rebel enough to get started. That’s what you need to do.
And don’t quit.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, make art, write something, have fun. it’s not just for children you know. Speaking of children, mine are making clay models, Adrian is watching ‘Columbo’ he loves those 80’s shows. And I am having my own fun, in my lovely new studio.

xo Jane

‘The creative adult is the child who survived.’ 



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