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Why Does Your Creativity Feel Like a Curse?

creativity is different

And what can you do about it?

creativity is differentDid you ever have one of those days (weeks, years…) when you wished you could just stop having that damn desire to “be creative.” Wouldn’t it be great if you could flip a switch and just do things without that constant niggling urge that pushes you to always do more, be more…argh! I mean, isn’t it okay to just coast sometimes? To not be creative?

(this post is part of the Writers: How to Be Creative resource page)

Why do you suppose, we ever wish to be not creative? Would we really want to push that aside? There are, in fact, many good reasons why you might feel you’d be better off without “it.”

Here’s the good news – feeling that way is not your fault.

Here’s the bad news – everything around you is conspiring to get you to take your creativity down a notch so it’s no wonder it can feel more like a curse than a blessing.

Did you know that studies show that creativity (fantasy and imagination) actually drop when children enter kindergarten? Think about this for a moment. Kids at that age are fiery balls of creativity. So why then, does this happen? Well, Kindergarten is often a child’s first venture that “requires” conformity.

And chances are good that you were once a child who went to Kindergarten. And it’s certain that you have been battling against that tide ever since. No wonder you wish your creativity would sometimes go away!

In a nutshell, our entire social structure is not supportive of creativity.

Here are just a few of the cultural, social, and emotional things as noted in Creativity is Forever
by Gary A. Davis (full disclosure, that’s my affiliate link). These things are constantly at work against your creativity:

  • Businesses want to avoid expenditures that do not give immediate payback
  • Our society has an emphasis on external rewards, rather than internal
  • It’s uncomfortable to be different
  • Traditional roles and stereotypes limit creativity
  • Above all else, we must be practical
  • Cooperation or competition can stifle creativity
  • We desire to protect status quo
  • Obedience, duty, conformity
  • Fear
  • A need to belong
  • What will your parents think?
  • It’s not in the budget
  • It can’t be done
  • We’ve never done that before
  • Let’s wait and see
  • Walk, don’t run

Frankly, anti-creative sentiment is everywhere. And, unless you’re a hermit in a cave on top of an unclimbable mountain, it’s bound to seep into you and impact how your feel about your own creativity. So, what can you do about it?

For starters, give yourself a break and know that it’s not just you being lazy.

Next – aim to increase your consciousness. Understand how social, cultural, and emotional blocks are affecting you – personally.

Here’s my version of an exercise designed to help you expand your consciousness along these lines better (extrapolated from “Creativity is Forever” by Gary A. Davis):

1. How do the following areas depress your creativity? Write a bit for each category. For instance, how do the habits you’ve learned over the years affect your creativity?

  • Habit
  • Rules
  • Perception
  • Emotions
  • Culture
  • Gender

2. Let’s think about it

Problem: Rules, traditions, social expectations, and conformity pressures squelch creativity. What solutions can you see for this?

3. List 5 absolutely ridiculous things that block your creativity or keep you from being more creative.

Try as we might, we can never totally unhinge ourselves from the society we live in, or completely divorce ourselves from caring, at least a little, of what the people around us think. So, next time you have a day when you’d rather toss your creativity aside, pause and  look at the big picture before you criticize yourself for feeling the way you do.

If you missed my previous post “Are You Ready to Get Paid for Your Online Writing” and you believe your goal is to get paid, it’s a must read (hint, it contains a paid writing opportunity).

photo by opensourceway

About the author: Karen, zencopy creator, is a top 10 bestselling amazon author, creativity coach, and an online content specialist with a masters in psychology and passion for learning and teaching new topics.

7 comments… add one

  • LR

    The worst thing that could limit your creativity is your non creative spouse or partner who holds traditional roles and stereotypes of females and males.

    • Yes, a partner not in touch with their creativity can certainly be a challenge. Perhaps we need some support groups for partners of creative types (I’m only half kidding). Thanks for you comment.

  • Oh boy do I know this feeling!

    We’re having Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year and I’ve been cleaning every few minutes I get, (in the hopes my family will not be able to see my pack-ratedness, as if that would ever happen). But every time I go to clean something I discover an old yard sale find that I Have to do something with At That Moment.
    For instance, this morning I found about three yards of gorgeous fabric, that of course I forgot I had, and have already pulled out a cork board and an old window frame with plans to morph it into…some piece of art tonight. This means scrubbing the living room will have to be put off another day.

    I’m fortunate that my family knows me well enough to accept that I can’t help this creative streak I must’ve been born with, but sometimes I do wish I had the strength to set it aside while I get “the real work” done.

    Too much to think about…Thanks for a great post Karen!
    Deanna Schrayer recently posted..In the beginning – request for critique

    • aha – too funny. I confiscated an old wicker wine bar from my neighbor last night which she was getting rid of – I just know I can do something wonderful with it! lol. And I won’t mention the trashed chairs I picked up by the side of the road a few months back that I was going to transform…I gave myself permission to donate those when they sat untouched for too long.
      Interesting you say putting the creative stuff aside to get to the “real work.” Do you suppose there will ever be a time when we can take the leap so that all the “creative stuff” is the real work? Wouldn’t that be grand!