As adults, we often find ourselves afraid to try out new things for fear of failure.  Quite often, we have been labelled as ‘poor at art’ or ‘not creative’ as a child.  However, we are constantly learning new skills but are often still afraid to try out something new.  I’ve been having a think myself and have come up with these pieces of encouragement to help you on your way.

Begin at the beginning

As babies, we learned how to walk and talk without fear.  We made mistakes, but still got up and carried on.  As adults, there is a tendency to be impatient and to want to be fully skilled immediately.  Be kind to yourself!  As we went through wobbly stages when we learned to walk, we usually go through wobbly stages when learning new skills.  By practicing these skills, we hone them.  For example, when I started to spin on a drop spindle, my thread was incredibly thick and uneven.  However, as time (and practice) progressed my skill (as well as the useful tips of others) my spinning became finer and more consistent.

Say ‘I don’t know how’ rather than ‘I can’t’ or ‘I’m not’

I quite often hear people saying to me things like ‘I’m not creative’ or ‘I can’t even sew on a button!” when I’m out and about crafting in public.  I personally believe that each of us has our own creativity whether it be in baking, gardening, traditional art or needlecraft, for example.  When I was a teenager, my skills at baking and sewing were rather poor as were my skills at art, which did put me off somewhat for many years.  Unfortunately my teachers at the time weren’t the encouraging sort.  Over the past few years I have participating in Paint Your Own workshops (where students are taken through the techniques needed to paint a particular picture) and also a couple of mixed media book workshops which have really inspired me (there will be another post on this one!)

It is OK for something to be ‘done’ rather than ‘perfect’

Often we expect our initial attempts at new skills to be absolutely perfect from day one.  However, our skills need to develop before they can be perfected.  ‘Practice makes perfect’ isn’t wrong!  By practising our newly learned skills, we can hone our creativity.  

Mistakes are part of the learning process

Yes, I have made a few mistakes along the way with my crafting ventures.  From cutting out dresses incorrectly to trying out a way of covering a diary that just didn’t work, this has definitely happened to me.  Don’t despair though.  Any mistakes made while learning add to the experience and mean we can create in a more considered way.

Be kind to yourself

I’m not sure about you, but I am often my own worst critic.  If something isn’t going to plan, it can quite easily end up in the Pile of Shame and seen by me as a disaster.  However, I do find that these days that happens less, particularly since I have started to take a more positive mindset to my projects and attempts at creativity.

How do you get on with learning new skills?

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