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I've Been Thinking About Creativity
because I have hit a creative wall
I’ve been thinking about creativity because I have hit a creative wall and I’m trying to understand why and how to get out of it. Below are some thoughts on creativity in general and why I think it’s been hard lately to feel creative.
Creativity needs space. Space to think, to create, to imagine, to observe, it needs stillness and I have been too busy to be still. When I am too busy the creative space gets a lot smaller. It gets harder to clear my brain of the to-dos and un-clutter my thoughts enough to problem-solve and come up with new ideas and solutions. I stop observing and being present in life and become just a body doing, not a creative being.
When I become a body just getting things done, I disconnect, and when we disconnect from ourselves, our creativity suffers. For me, when my mom-life gets crazy busy that’s when my creativity tends to suffer the most. May is probably the busiest month of the year for parents of school-aged kids. All of the end-of-the-year performances happen, sports seasons begin, end of school events, summer planning and finding childcare for the summer. It’s a lot and it all happens in May. So my creativity dying isn’t a mystery to me. I have too many soccer schedules jammed in my head right now.
I also find that for me doing mundane tasks around the house really hurts my creativity. Those things are necessary to do, but on a day when I am cleaning, running errands, etc. I just need to know that I most likely won’t be in a good state to be creative - that mental energy was already spent. Conversely, on days I go for a walk, have a great conversation with someone, read, watch a good show, work, or connect with my community, my creative brain lights up.
There are two things that kill everyone’s ability to create - comparison and judgment. When I start judging everything I’m doing and comparing myself to others, I lose my individuality and stop tapping into myself and start tapping into what I think is “popular” or is going to be well received. It becomes about the outcome and not the process and rarely does that foster my best or most connected work.
Paying attention to what feeds your creative side and what deprives it is important, even if you don’t identify strongly with that part of your life. We are all creators in our own way. For our W Design book group we are reading Rick Rubin’s book, The Creative Act, (which I am really liking so far), he talks about how creating is simply making something that wasn’t there before. It could be as simple as engaging in a conversation or as complicated as designing and constructing a structure. Both are acts of creation. All of us are creators.
I am curious to know if you feel similarly to me - do the mundane, life-maintenance tasks kill your creativity? Do social interactions fuel you or deplete you? When do you feel inspired to create?
I’m working on fighting the desire to keep busy because there is so much to do right now and to create some stillness and quiet moments so I can reconnect with myself, you all, and my creativity. I’ll let you know how it goes. So far, not so great, it has taken me a couple of weeks to just write this letter, but I’m hopeful. First task, put down my phone.