Books, Art, & Visual Culture


Writing and design by Melissa Hill, graphic designer.

Creativity and the Beast


What is creativity?

Can I even claim that title?

Creativity. It seems to be talked about so much. Or perhaps that’s just my little bubble of the internet reflecting back to me what it thinks I want to hear.

Creativity. What is it? How do I tap into it? Do I have it? Why don’t I have it? Is this it? Do I have enough of it?

On the one hand, it doesn’t appear to be valued that highly – typically, one doesn’t enter into a creative profession because one wants to make a lot of money, and people are always trying to get creative work done for free.

On the other hand, creativity really is the only thing that holds our attention at the moment – the demand for more content, endless content, means that creativity is more in demand than ever.

Who is creative? Is there a “creative person” or are we all creative under the right circumstances? I have no idea, I’m simply thinking out loud.

I identify as a “creative person”, whatever that is. In my spare time, I design, I draw, I paint, I write, I play music. But, if I’m not in the mood for one activity, I can switch to another as it suits me. Or I can decide to go outside and take a walk, or sit mindlessly in front of Netflix. However, I also work in a creative field and it can be difficult sometimes. A job which requires you to be creative on a daily basis is full of uncertainty. Perhaps today you will have a brilliant idea for this new logo you are designing, perhaps the right solution will be elusive. It’s not like adding up numbers and having a predictable answer. But depending on where you work and how they run things, you don’t always have the luxury of stepping away from the problem if it just isn’t your day. 

So you push on.

Sometimes, you will not like the result. This is hard. Failure – or the perception of failure – in creative endeavours is difficult because so often, creativity is linked with our identity, our self-worth. It might seem like a frivolous, first-world problem, but as something that can impact on one’s mental and emotional well-being, it can be a real problem.

I don’t know what the solution is, but just know this: you are not alone.

(If you're curious, the article header image is a crop of one of my paintings of Kings Canyon, Northern Territory)