Artists, Love Your Left Brain

I believe we all have whole brains. As far as some of us being too logical to be creative or too artsy to manage anything, well, I’m just not buying it.

Maybe when you were a kid, you were told you were artistic. Or not, because your sister was or your dad was. You were brainy, though, and liked to read or do math problems. Lucky enough for me, I was told I was artistic and smart. I liked art and math and reading.

The problem for the so-called artist or non-artist though is that they limit themselves. We are all creative, and I believe we all have an artist in us. I can’t believe how many times I’ve seen a cute little drawing someone did, or a fine piece of print design by someone who tells me they’re not creative.

And then we have the opposite problem I’m so familiar with, from working long years in big media. The person who is oh, so creative, they can’t do anything else. Don’t ask them to organize a file, or pay a bill, or get a latte for gosh sake. These are the ones, I think, who are convincing us that we are either creative or we aren’t.

In school, where I graduated with high honors learning art and math and drama and business, I got to be creative. Then in the real show biz work world I had to give my left brain the far bigger work-out, being largely forbidden by the elite to exercise the other side of my brain. Then I missed a big break at network producing just because I wouldn’t freelance. I learned that I just had to keep foisting my informed creative suggestions onto whomever would listen, and had influence.

Here is the happy ending: You get to use sharply-honed business administrative skills to get where you want creatively! As a PBS producer I interned for in college advised me, business skills get you farther than you think in the “arts.” So guess what, art school grads? You don’t get to come out and completely mismanage yourself in the name of your creative temperament. And expect to get your own lattes for quite awhile too.

You do have a whole brain, no matter what they told you as a kid. Exercise your math and reading skills whether you like it or not and organize your files, for gosh sakes. And you will go far.


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