Taking the creative plunge

We’re often told that when it comes to being creative, you’ve either ‘got it’ or you don’t. For budding creatives, the question whether to complete a creative course at university or not is a constant point of apprehension.

“But can you really teach creativity?” thousands of unsure voices cry. “Perhaps I should do something more practical as a backup, just in case.” Is there really a point in doing a creative degree?

To work professionally as a creative, you’ll need to learn how to understand your raw springs of inspiration and translate it into accessible, powerful work. [According to LinkedIn][1], “creative” was the most used buzzword in user profiles over the last two years. Creative industries are booming, and interest in creative courses is on the rise: in 2013, enrolments in creative courses at university rose by 2.4%, with [Hotcourses][2], the UK’s largest provider of education websites reporting that photography the most searched for course across the entire country this year. With growing demands for creative skills, there’s never been a better reason to let them flourish beneath the measured guidance of experts.

Creativity may stem from your genetic make-up, but, like anything, needs to be nurtured and developed to have successful practical outlet. Whilst some are able to hack it without this training, if you really want to work as a creative then there’s no real reason to deny yourself this resource.

It’s true that you can’t teach someone how to get inspired, but you can teach them how to channel that inspiration into something productive. The most difficult part about producing creative work is figuring out how to use your medium to best express yourself. For example, where better for a budding photographer needs to learn how to best manipulate the technology at their fingertips than from an expert?

It’s also true that practice makes perfect. When you do a creative course, constant exposure to your craft and the artistic process will develop those critical modes of thought that will best help you get your ideas out and across. You’ll get used to thinking creatively, and as you’re constantly exposed to new possibilities of thought, ideas and inspiration, your brain will adapt and start coming up with increasingly unique, complex ideas.

Practically speaking, doing a creative course is also an invaluable way to start building a network. Surrounded by talented, like-minded people, there’s no better way to kick-start your career then to bounce ideas off other budding maestros. Often, you’ll also be exposed to advice or tutelage from an expert, and so can form your own artistic persona against the information and impressions gleaned from your surroundings. Nothing exists in isolation: especially ideas.

Last, but definitely not least, creative courses build confidence in your skills and ideas. If you aren’t 100% behind your artistic vision, it will show. Worse still, without confidence your ideas may never even see the light of day. When you’re starting out, you can’t hope to have a frame of reference to gauge your progress, or whether there’s an area you could build or improve on. Receiving formal guidance and getting grades—yes, the dreaded ‘g’ word—you’re getting a constant indication of how you’re progressing in a safe, controlled environment. You can take creative risks at university because the whole reason you’re there is to learn. Sadly, 31% of people feel they lack to confidence to be truly creative.

Working as a creative can be tough, but if it’s what you want to do, then doing a creative course will only help you get there. Whilst some were able to hack it without any formal training, receiving the extra help is a resource that will only ever work in your favour, provided you approach it with the right attitude. The temptation to do a course that seems a more ‘practical’ route to employment seems an appealing safety net, but in the end, it boils down to your own sense of determination at championing your skills and taking a challenge in your stride.