Creating in The Era of Creative Confidence

Scott Belsky on the the promises and perils of creative expression as we stand on the shoulders of tech.

It’s remarkable to watch a five-year-old draw, void of any anxiety about what the world will think. We all start our lives creatively confident, happy to create and share our work with pride. And then, as we age, our comfort with creative expression declines. We’re discouraged by the learning curve of creative skills and tools, by our tendency to compare ourselves to others, and by the harsh opinions of critics. As Picasso famously quipped, “All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” It is a sad irony: As we age, our creative capabilities (and opportunities!) grow as we collect life experiences that inspire us — but our creative confidence shrinks. We are more creatively confident in kindergarten than we are as adults. Correcting this is among the greatest opportunities for the next generation of humankind.

Well, we’re entering an era that changes everything. A few critical technology breakthroughs and fundamentally more accessible platforms are changing everything. From free web-based tools with templates that help conquer the fear of the blank screen to powerful generative artificial intelligence that conjures up anything from a text prompt, expressing yourself creatively no longer requires climbing creativity’s notoriously steep learning curve.

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