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How to get past creative anxiety

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Shakespeare didn’t wake up when he was six months old and blurt out ‘OMG I’m never going to learn to write!’ He may have been a fast learner, but he started as a beginner and had to muddle along and learn his craft.

Do you ever wonder how we’re able to walk, talk and use a cell phone, more or less without thinking, even though these are quite complex activities that take time and practice to learn?

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There are some tactics to get the learning started. Encouragement helps. When I’m teaching people how to draw I tell them that I’ve never yet found anyone who can’t learn to draw a recognisable face. Most people learn how to do this within a single day. A few – maybe one in 20 – take as long as a week.

Another learning tip is to avoid words like ‘art’ and ‘drawing’. They come with baggage that raises our anxiety.

Instead I place the emphasis on ‘seeing’. It’s rare to find someone who can’t ‘see’. I’ve even taught drawing to a student who was legally blind – it left me wondering whether EVERYONE can draw.

‘Seeing’ seems ordinary, yet it’s also extraordinary. Drawing becomes easy as soon as you put aside thoughts on the proper way to do it. Just concentrate on what you SEE.

Thoughts and ‘techniques’ get in the way. They’re add-ons, clutter. Avoid them!

Once you get past the obstacles it all becomes much simpler than learning to talk. If you keep drawing – even a few minutes a day – skills gently come on board and become ‘natural’.

‘Seeing’ may be the key to finding your creativity in other areas. Even when doing something routine, such as cooking dinner, you may notice that physics, chemistry and art are all involved. It’s like being able to open a big door that leads to a form of magic.

TLC is here to help people open the door. We are leading a gentle revolution to re-connect with what it means to be human and creative. In surprising ways it also helps people to live more easily with each other, manage anxiety and discover their potential.


- Jonathan Milne


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