When does creativity stop being fun?
As a creative, the world can sometimes feel like a blank canvas. You can do anything, make anything, be anything. And this is incredibly exciting, until it isn’t anymore.
This is when creativity stops being fun. When the motivation leaves. But why? Why does something so many people love to do become so detrimental?
When creativity is gone
The blank canvas suddenly feels too big, or everyone else seems to have filled it already, leaving no space for you. It can even get to a point where you don’t want to create anything, because it emotes more negative feelings than positive.
‘Creative burnout’ is a term often passed around in this discussion. This is when you spend so much time and energy trying to make something perfect, that you drain yourself. Your energy is gone, and so is your motivation.
It can lead to procrastination, self-doubt, and even feelings of dread when it comes to creating. I’ve known several people in my life suffer with creative burnout. I feel that it’s something that is kept quiet, out of fear of judgement. This can often make people feel alone, as if they’re the only person in the world feeling this way.
“..impostor phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success.”
-Suzanne Imes, PhD, and Pauline Rose Clance, PhD
Have you ever looked at all the talented people surrounding you and felt like an intruder? This is a feeling that’s been described as imposter syndrome. This is a term that I’ve only recently become familiar with, and is something I believe should be taken a lot more seriously in the age of social media.
People struggling with this can feel that their success comes purely from luck. They believe that they don’t deserve their praise, because they didn’t ‘earn’ it. It’s impossible for them to see that they worked hard, and are deserving of success.
This is just another reason why creativity has stopped being fun for many people, as it can sometimes be detrimental to their mental health.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, and am not qualified to diagnose or help anyone with these struggles. If you believe you’re being affected by this, please talk to people around you, or even a professional.
In the age of social media, comparison is unavoidable. Open one app and suddenly you see hundreds of people, seemingly doing better than you. This is a struggle when it comes to maintaining creativity. Sometimes, no matter how proud you are of something you’ve created, it will never be as good as that one post you see on Instagram.
You can’t help but wonder why others seem to be doing better. They may have more followers, more likes, more interactions. It gets to a point where you create for numbers, instead of love. And you don’t even realise you’ve gotten to this point, it creeps up on you until you realise that you’re focusing so much more on others content, rather than your own.
So where do I conclude with this. Well I think a conversation needs to be started. People need to be more open about their struggles when it comes to creativity. If we begin to talk, and uplift and support one another, maybe creating can become joyous again.
Did someone close to you write something beautiful recently? Tell them you love their words.
Did that one art account on Instagram draw something you just adore? Give them a nice comment.
Did a relative take a photo that’s completely lock-screen worthy? Share it for others to see.
Be kind to your fellow creatives, and be kind to yourself. Learn to create for the sake of it, make things you love, or even just things you enjoy making. Take a step back from the competition that often comes with creativity, and see that what you make is amazing because you made it.
Talent is not a limited resource. In fact, everyone has it in some form. So embrace your own talent, and embrace others, because the existence of theirs does not take away from yours. And share what you make with the world, because the world deserves to see it.
To further back up my own point, the cover image for this article is a piece of art I drew. I know it isn’t perfect, but I enjoyed making it, and that’s enough for me right now.