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On Creativity

Hegarty on Creativity

Credit: www.rocarc.com/hegarty-on-creativity-book-review

Hegarty on Creativity, written by BBH co-founder John Hegarty, is a small book with some big ideas on what it takes to stay ‘fresh’ in the creative industries.

After an indulgent front to back read, I closed the cover and felt, surprisingly, somewhat stilted. Like I was a character in a flip book running towards the edge of a cliff about to jump – but the last page is missing. I was just poised somewhere between Hegarty’s vision of a true creative and my own thoughts on the matter.


I’ve been studying creative subjects and been generally creative a lot throughout my life (with varying success). I’ve spent many years thinking of myself as a creative person – when in reality writing is the only thing that successfully held my attention across the teenage frontier (sadly both my brown belt in karate and keyboard lessons got dropped along the way).

I suppose I’m a dabbler. I’ll happily spend an afternoon carving a table top with shrewd integrity and an adopted concentration face I imagine wood carvers to use. You’re likely to find me playing the harmonica, exerting Photoshop prowess or binding books; building shelters, speaking French or illustrating a children’s book. You’d be likely to find me doing all these things once. But it’s unlikely you’ll find me doing them again.

“At times something will catch your mind and envelope you for a while. And it will be great, while it lasts. Before the next thing comes along. And I think that’s OK.”

I found myself perched on that cliff edge because of something Hegarty said –

‘Constantly chopping and changing […] will hinder your success […] Once you’ve mastered one art form, by all means have a go at another.’

This reeled back a recurring thought I’ve had: I’ve been kidding myself this whole time; I’m really not a creative person at all, I’m just a fickle fancier of numerous trades and where can that take me? I’ll never be a master in these things. I then read an article about our fondness for facts and the usurping of understanding in this era of the search engine – which almost led me to pull off the mask and reveal myself for the creative fraud I am. I took a deep breath. One big step. And fell.

With the relief felt when you lift something you expect to be really heavy and it’s not, I realised this –

No one can be a master of everything. Yes, I am a dabbler. But in these twists and turns and dips and dives into new and curious and challenging things, I find insights and ideas and new paths to trace. It’s these things which give peoples lives – their creative lives – pace and variation. And at times something will catch your mind and envelope you for a while. And it will be great, while it lasts. Before the next thing comes along.

And I think that’s OK.

Luckily for me Feeding is part of my work, so while nibbling the crusts of creative crafts I am safe in the knowledge that whatever I dip my toes into, it will at least be worthy of writing about.

The rest of the book was great. I just got hung up on this one point. I implore you to purchase it, preferably the edible edition. Yes edible.


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