5 things we can learn from Zadie Smith about creativity

Creativity is a powerful force that allows us to express ourselves, share our stories and connect with others. A prominent figure in the literary world who has captivated readers with her unique voice and storytelling ability is Zadie Smith.

As an acclaimed British novelist, essayist and short story writer, Smith has been recognized for his innovative and thought-provoking work.

Let’s explore what we can learn from Zadie Smith about creativity and how her insights can inspire us to tap into our own creative potential.

Embrace your multifaceted identity

Smith’s writing often reflects her complex and varied identity as a British child of Jamaican and English parents. She has spoken openly about her mixed heritage, growing up in a multicultural environment and her struggle with identity.

Smith’s work serves as a reminder that our multifaceted identities can be a source of creativity. Embracing our unique backgrounds, experiences and perspectives can add depth and richness to our creative work, allowing us to give a fresh and authentic voice to our creations.

Embrace uncertainty and imperfection

Smith has spoken about the uncertainty and vulnerability that comes with the creative process. She acknowledges that writing is a messy and imperfect endeavor, and that embracing the unknown and taking risks is an integral part of the creative journey.

Smith’s willingness to embrace uncertainty and imperfection in his work can inspire us to let go of perfectionism, take risks, and allow ourselves to explore uncharted territory in our own creative endeavors.

Pay attention to the world around you

Smith is known for his keen observation of the world and his ability to capture the intricacies of human nature and society in his writing. She has emphasized the importance of paying attention to the world around us, noticing the details and engaging with the complexities of life.

Smith’s approach reminds us to cultivate a sense of curiosity and awareness of the world, as it can serve as a rich source of inspiration for our creative work.

Experiment with shape and style

Smith is known for his bold and experimental approach to form and style in his writing. She is not afraid to push the boundaries of conventional storytelling and often incorporates unconventional narrative structures, perspectives and voices into her work.

Smith’s willingness to experiment with form and style encourages us to break free from traditional constraints, take risks and explore new ways of creative expression.

Persistence and persistence are key

Smith’s success as a writer did not come overnight. She has spoken about the challenges she faced along the way, including rejection and self-doubt. But she has also emphasized the importance of persistence and perseverance in the face of obstacles.

Smith’s journey serves as a reminder that creativity requires resilience, determination and a willingness to keep pushing forward despite adversity.


Zadie Smith’s unique and innovative approach to creativity offers valuable insights for aspiring writers and creatives alike.

Her emphasis on embracing our multifaceted identity, embracing uncertainty and imperfection, paying attention to the world around us, experimenting with form and style, and persevering in the face of challenges can inspire us to tap into our own creative potential and unleash our unique voice and stories on the world.

By incorporating these lessons into our creative practice, we can strive to create meaningful and impactful work that resonates with others.