Squashing Creativity

Paul Arden on Creativity

I feel like I have made every mistake there is to make on the above list.

I feel I have heard every negative reason why I shouldn’t be a photographer and choose a creative path as a career. There have been days when I started to believe it.

When I chose to swap a successful business for a photography career and start all over again at 35, half of Sydney thought that early Alzheimers had kicked in. I heard it all in those first years. ‘When are you going to get a real job’ or ‘isn’t the fun over yet’, ‘you know you aren’t young what about your superannuation’ and ‘when are you moving back to Australia?’

Fortunately there were many others who believed in what I was doing and saw how happy I was. Starting life as a creative is difficult enough but when you add societies pressures to an already difficult choice it can be like climbing Mount Everest with the world on your back!

Here’s the deal, if you had chosen to be a lawyer or a banker everyone would have patted you on the back, if you plan on being a musician, an artist or a photographer get ready for the avalanche of frowns and ‘well dear its not going to be an easy road’.. caring speeches that are sure to arrive.

Paul Arden is the genius that wrote the above list. The mistakes I have made on the above list  are the best lessons I have ever learnt and I as have said before ‘I wouldn’t swap a day of this new life’.

Hold onto your dreams


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26 Responses to Squashing Creativity

  1. Carolyn says:

    As the proud parent of an artist, I am SO GLAD she followed her dream!

  2. Dash says:

    Wise words indeed Carla, I too have made many of the mistakes on Paul Arden’s list. People should hold onto their dreams if they are prepared to work hard and keep focused anything is possible.

  3. Beverly says:

    Your timing couldn’t be more perfect! I, too, am in the middle of transitioning from a conventional career to an artistic one. I know in my heart it’s the right path for me and my husband is my biggest cheerleader. However, I battle with my own self-doubt and fear! UGH! Thanks for my dose of inspiration!

    • Carla says:

      Hi Beverly, get rid of fear by dealing just with today. If you deal everyday with just that day it will take you to your future.. Sometimes the big picture is too scary!! Carla xx

  4. Gabriella says:

    You’ve reminded me of that wonderful speech given by writer, author of Eat, Prey, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, talking at a TED conference about the pressures of being a creative: what is the creative genius? or more like who is the creative genius? Very insightful, inspiring and funny. Definitely something to watch.

  5. Gabriella says:

    Pardon. It’s, Eat, Pray, Love.

  6. So far, I can check off 2-5 and now realize that I might be guilty of number 10 ;) Thank you, Carla, for your many inspiring posts. I have been headed in the wrong direction for a few years, choosing the more “practical” path, all the while ignoring the creative part of me that has always pushed me try new things. I will soldier on , but I must say, the hardest part about starting over is knowing where to start. Katie

    • Carla says:

      Hi Katie, i agree it all can seem so overwhelming. Pick something that you love and make that the starting point. Write a small plan from that starting point and take small steps each day. Break it down so it doesn’t seem an impossible task.. and best of luck. Carla xx

  7. La Contessa says:

    So, true…………….

  8. I have committed so many of these! In any creative field, there will always be nay sayers + rules to make your own. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  9. Anita Rivera says:

    Dearest Carla,

    When I showed my husband your lovely book that came to me in the mail yesterday, HE was flushed with excitement for YOU. He was impressed by your decision, he is equally impressed by MY DECISION to do likewise. I have already experienced about HALF of the things on this list, but there is no other way to go about this business. WE MUST CREATE FROM OUR HEART. Otherwise, we will be more miserable than we would be enduring these things! We shall stick together and enjoy the process as WE BECOME THE ART WE SEEK TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD! Anita

    • Carla says:

      Lovely Anita, wise words.. thank-you for the lovely feedback on my book. So thrilled you like it.. love following your adventures. Carla xx

  10. We have to grow and making mistakes is the way to learn (even if there is heartache in there!). In fact I still do some of these things, just not as often as I used to! I love being able to create and can’t imagine stopping :)

  11. My husband being very practical has an expression for creative souls like us…’Arty Farties” and I have to say I am happy to be included. We balance each other so beautifully, I give him wings and he has me feel the earth beneath my feet.

    Writing has become as great a love for me as photography, I am exploring both and finding ‘Lisa’ again ….you have helped me along the way dear Carla.

    love lisa x

  12. Hi Carla, this post has reminded me of a really proud parent moment/s. Even though both my husband and I are creative we value education as well and have encouraged all our children do do well at school but to have the love of the arts and also to follow their passions. My eldest daughter has just finished her first year of Uni doing a visual arts degree (3yrs) and doing really well. She hopes to then do a post graduate degree in Art therapy a somewhat new form of therapy for people with mental health issues, terminal or long term illness and eating disorders to name a few. We have done nothing but encourage her and if she doesn’t get to the art therapy stage she is an amazing artist that will be able to find work in a variety of areas. I am a qualified teacher but feel fed by my photography and music and my husband is an OHS manager who plays saxophone! I love to watch my little ones as they create in a carefree way not thinking about how little this picture looks like a Vangogh- something we adults get hung up on. It was actually during one of my teaching degrees that I realised I was very creative and got over the comparisons and started to be me. I can be inspired by the likes of Cartier- Bresson and even yourself but at the end of the day I am a unique creative person. I entered my first exibition a few years ago and ended up having my work then exibited in our major local art gallery/centre for over a month which was a very exciting and proud time for me. Thanks for all your encouraging, photographic tips and beautiful art to aspire to- luvs ya xxCorrina.

  13. Susan says:

    So many things on that list ring true. I think after being an architect for twenty years no.5 would resonate amongst many of my female colleagues, I say that as it did seem to be a predominatly female trait. Looking back I was a 35 sole practitioner working from home on high end projects with babies born 17 months apart and no one but me on hand. In retrospect I think I was kicking a.. However I have now gone the full circle with my new creative venture flitting between confident, proud and excited to ‘what am I doing, will this work, I hope they like what I do” but you know what I do, so I need to suck it up and feel fortunate I have the choice to do something I love.

  14. Nat says:

    Think I can put a tick against all of these…haha!
    Really looking forward to the workshops and spending some time with other creatives :-)

  15. Janine says:

    This list resonates with so many of us…because it’s so true. It’s funny in parts but so poignant and even a bit hard to read, especially no. 2! You’ve got a great knack for the right word/image/feeling at the right time dear Carla! Thanks for this time too. Jx

  16. Rizalenio says:

    Wow! Such an inspiring post.

  17. Thank you Carla for reminding us all that there is such excitement and liberation in trusting one’s heart/gut and working outside the square – maybe even occasionally breaking some rules to find and achieve what you really want in life. I think there should be a No 11 – Listening to your head and not your heart/gut! Ciao and see you soon F x

  18. Kelly says:

    Thank you for such a lovely post! It’s another great reminder not to give up on our dreams and what makes us happy. :)


  19. Nic says:

    Great post Carla – thanks for sharing. I needed to read this today! I’m a repeat offender of quite a few items on the list :D

  20. sue says:

    thank you, i needed to read exactly this right about now… :)

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