In even the most profound moments of time and space when all things seem to do nothing but fall in place, one can not help but to notice that every ounce of the creativity that makes them real and unique is being stripped away. In environments and workplaces where creativity is in high demand, is indeed what earns us the money to buy those things that aren't really that important, this loss of the essence of creativity can be damning at best, crippling at worst.
Have you ever sat in your sterilized-grey boring little cubicle staring at the project before you and thought, "Where did that spark go? What happened to my creativity?". Have you ever started a project thinking that this was the greatest thing that ever existed only, in the end, to ditch it completely because you can't come up with the energies required to get there?
I certainly have and in my effort to regain that creativity that was lost, that spark that was once what made me want to create I've begun looking at those things that strip the creativity away completely and begun evaluating what it is that makes the creative spark.
The first thing to consider is that creative people aren't 'normal' people. They never live entirely normal lives. This mundanity would eventually clutter their thoughts up so much that the act of being creative would be virtually impossible. Think about it. We work eight hours a day. We go home and we eat dinner. We watch some TV and then we go to bed. We get up and we go to work again. When is there time to be creative? On the weekends when we try to escape from the normality of our day to day lives?
In an essay about Sanity and Creativity entitled A Fine Madness: Sanity and Creativity, John H. Lienhard writes:
The British once used a wonderful phrase to describe a creative person. They would talk about A Fine Madness. Well, I don't really know what sanity is or where it ends. But I do know that the abnormality that we call creativity does -- often enough -- reach outside the line of acceptability.
Lienhard goes on to discuss the ins and the outs of the creative mind and it's grapple with sanity. He discusses many such creative men who at one time or another were labeled as completely insane and murdered others, or themselves, in their insanity.
Is creativity an outlet for insanity? Must one be insane in order to be creative? I doubt it, but I bet that a bit of weirdness helps. Being able to step out of the norm and think out of the box to coin a phrase is, in essence, what Creativty really is.
Stress. I don't think there's a person on this planet who hasn't realized what stress is. It's having to get up in the morning, walk in to work and face a boss who's frothing at the mouth because you didn't do something you were never asked to do in the first place. It's traffic jams when all you want to do is get home and go to bed once and for all. It's all of the little ins and outs of living in this world.
Stress, however, eats creativity for breakfast. No, some big-wig psychologist or professor didn't have to tell me this, I know it. The more stressed out you are, the more likely you are not to be creative. Your mind is too busy working out why you are so stressed out to even consider working on the intricate creativeness that is there.
With that said, it seems that the corporate workplace eats creativity just as surely as stress eats creativity because the corporate workplace in and of itself does nothing but spawn stress.
In my search for information about losing creativity I found very few results. One of the most intriguing, however, was an article about negative self-opinions. That little nagging voice in the back of your head (that most often seems to resemble a parent) that tells you all of the reasons why you are going to fail in this particular creative intenty.
In and of itself, that thought isn't very intribuing, but it hit home to me. How many times did I sit looking at a GREAT idea for a new business and not do anything about it because I feared failure. Was it my mother telling me I'd fail or was it my own self-doubts creeping into my very existance and telling me that I'm not as good as I always thought I was? Or, in an all together opposite direction, was it just my fear of failure?
The answer to this, it seems, is in all of the above. The self-doubt that we gain as we move on through life comes from a huge variety of sources.
Life, in and of itself, is what draws all of the creativity out of you. Nagging clients, egotistical bosses, overbearing mothers, self-doubt, fear and mundanity can just strip all sense of creativity right form your being and throw it out the nearest open window.
To fight it, it seems, we must all go a little insane, rip the stress out of our lives and remove all plausible self-doubt. Not an easy task, eh? I guess that's why not everyone is creative.
I'm sure Tyler Durden has some choice words for how to get your creativity back.