Watch this video.
Do you think you could do that? Probably not. I used to feel the same way.
From a young age, I loved to watch The Food Network. It was one of my favorite past times. I particularly loved the baking shows, where the chefs created not just delicious food, but works of art out of unconventional materials. I admired their skills so much but I never considered myself capable of creating masterpieces as they did. I, like most people, assumed that a large portion of their skill base was something they were born with. After all, if they can paint incredible images onto a cake with a piping bag, then they are just natural-born artists who can paint anything, right?
Fast forward to age 14. As a birthday gift, my parents signed me up for cake decorating classes at my local Jo-Anne Fabrics store. I was the youngest in the class by at least 40 years, but it was an absolute blast. My first 50 piped roses came out looking horribly wilted, but eventually, I started to get the hang of it.
I ended up continuing through to level three of the cake decorating courses. At the time that was the top level that they offered. Midway through level two, I became so confident in my cake decorating skills, that I opened a small, home baking business. I would finish all my homework on Friday night so I could spend the weekend working on orders for clubs/events in my school, local baby showers, and birthday parties.
It definitely beat my other friends’ jobs working retail or mowing lawns, or so they told me. But the biggest benefit was the lesson that came from taking the plunge to suck at something for a while until I got immensely better. I don’t bake as much as I used to, and Carbo Cakes has since closed its doors, but I do still carry something with me every day that I earned from my days of piping frosting. Which is the awareness of my (and anyone’s) ability to learn and improve creative skills.
When I look at painters, musicians, writers, and the like, I have immense respect for their work. But I have even more respect for the work behind their work. I know that the incredible thing they have created is the result of hundreds of hours of practice and dedication. I also know that if I mustered up the patience, dedication, and obsession, I could achieve a great level of creative power in that field as well.
Because of my journey in learning cake and pastry decorating, I have approached every creative endeavor with the same attitude. Expect to suck, do a lot of work, suck some more, and then start noticing the small gains.
It’s a humbling yet addictive process once you get it down the first time. I truly believe we’re all naturally born creative, but many of us just haven’t to given ourselves the space to mess around a bit until we get it “right”.
What creative skill have you always admired but sold yourself short on?