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I was taking part in an event and had a stand showcasing some of the books I publish. I had roped in my niece to help me out on the day, and when I had finished explaining my work to some of the first visitors to my stand, she turned to me and asked with a quizzical look on her face “Where do you get your ideas from?”

That’s a very good question and in my niece’s case stems from having grown up seeing me try my hand at various creative pursuits over the years from graphic design to jewellery making.

My niece is at university preparing to study fashion, she is highly creative and I see bits of me in her when I was her age, playing around with the ideas swirling around in my head and rushing to create the products and then feeling that wave disappointment when they didn’t always sell or turn out the way I’d envisioned. She is at that exciting stage of exploring what it means to own your creativity, to find out what is possible, and where she belongs in the industry and what career path(s) she will take.

So my reply to her question was along the lines of I get my ideas by not being afraid to try new things and experiences, by reflecting on them and allowing them to fuel my imagination and then giving myself some time and space to explore those first ideas, and to not let the failures get me down. Of embracing what is happening around me. Doing all this has helped me to develop my skills and opened me up to other opportunities.

When I look back on my creative journey to date I see just how far I have come and how it has morphed from wanting to be a textile designer, to studying then becoming a graphic designer because that was the only real option had, to becoming a jewellery designer with a part-timeish business, to going back to the drawing board and reemerging as a blogger then writer and author on design and creativity.

Looking back each chapter has been a lesson, that has generated the idea for the next. Each chapter had built my confidence, showed me what is possible if I believe and has helped to move me forward to where I am now. And the journey has been marked by the people I have met, who have encouraged, challenged and inspired my thoughts.

Ideas come at us all the time, and just like opportunities, we need to be open to them, to see which are worth our time and which ones to leave by the wayside. It’s not easy to pick and choose, but those innovative ideas that make it through just may be the ones to impact the world.

Here’s to generating and embracing your ideas!


– Tapiwa Matsinde

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