I recently started reading 'Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear' by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love'. Before you switch off, thinking I'm about to go all 'hippie', please keep reading! (Hippie is so not my style.) I have an appreciation for straight-talking and found this book refreshingly and surprisingly so. It was recommended to me by a kindred spirit, who just sort of gets me. She is me and I am her in many ways.
Around 30% into reading 'Big Magic' on my iPhone Kindle App, at around 4am, my tired eyes homed in on a quote that made so much sense to me. It was a revelation in my mind...my sleep deprived mind:
'To call somebody a "creative person" is almost laughably redundant; creativity is the hallmark of our species'.
Looking back at my career so far, it has been spent for the most part in creative endeavours - writing product strategies, building sell-out ranges, seeking and finding solutions to all manner of fashion business conundrums, inspiring my teams, peers and managers along the way...yet my role in rigid industry terms, whilst broad and dynamic, was by definition, decidedly 'uncreative'.
A little over a year ago, when I was a little over 30, I quit my job, having reasoned that I needed to live a more creative and inspired life. I've always had ideas. Lots and lots of little ones coming and going for as long as I can remember.
Since launching Ille De Cocos, I can honestly say that I've never felt more inspired. On a daily, often hourly basis, I am faced with multiple business issues that I must look to myself to resolve. Often it's 10 against 1. So far, I have survived to tell the tale. You learn quickly to expect the unexpected.
I can strategise to my hearts content and create collections on a whim, most of which remain in my head - not the best place for survival...The most persistent ideas are graduated to one of my many secret Pinterest Boards or into one of my many notebooks for "safekeeping".
I have encountered and continue to meet others like me, who have jumped in at the deep end to scratch a particular creative itch. We fuel and inspire each other.
In hearing that I have started my own business, people seem to approach me to share their own creative and artistic ideas, goals and passions, usually unfulfilled. Often it's because they were not considered artistic types at school, or at work, or at home. I never really know what to tell them, other than to share how I got started. Often they tell me that they are waiting for that 'big idea' to come along, and will act as soon as it arrives. I usually point out that my idea, whilst strong, is 'tiny', requiring constant attention and cultivation to stay afloat. I am a cashmere-clad swan - these feet NEVER stop paddling.
Others say, they are brimming with a plethora of ideas just like me, but now just isn't the right time. They call me brave, which I think is sometimes polite for doolally, reckless, unrealistic...I graciously accept the compliment as I paddle on by.
Elizabeth Gilbert's advice to all is on point, and I will be quoting her wise words from now on. I couldn't help but smirk knowingly when I read this next part:
'The guardians of high culture will try to convince you that the arts belong only to a chosen few, but they are wrong and they are also annoying. We are all the chosen few.'
I could't have put it better myself.
So I'm thoroughly recommending this advice to all creatives. That is, anyone who wants to start something new, be it a hobby, or career endeavour. Leaving you with the words of my new-found guru and all round straight-talker of great sense:
'Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one'.
Deola Charles, Cashmere-Clad Swan, Creative, Founder of Ille De Cocos