creativity buzz kills

Last year, Madeline Bea did a Creativity Boot Camp and she just posted a gorgeous workbook from that session (She’s such an inspiring and generous individual, isn’t she?). Seeing that workbook helped jump start my creativity this weekend. In that workbook, she asks you to list your creativity buzz kills, the things that prevent you from being creative. Call them out by name to banish them from existence.

So here are my creative buzz kills:

* Not having uninterrupted time. When there are things to do or beings demanding attention, it looms large in my head and prevents me from focusing on my work. So even if there is time for me to be productive, I end up whiling it away because my focus on what other things I could/should be doing.

* Using “not having uninterrupted time” as an excuse. As much as not having uninterrupted time sucks, it’s even worse for my creativity if I succumb to it. I know it’s an excuse because, when I’m in the game, when I’m inspired, time ceases to matter. My priorities shift and all I can think about is my project. I fit it in, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I’ll think about it while I’m in the shower (and forget whether or not I’ve shampooed already). I’ll pull over while driving to jot down some dialogue on a crumpled receipt I’ve dug out of my purse. I’ll stay up until the wee hours because it’s more important than sleep. So really “not having uninterrupted time” is just a red herring for the real issue “I need to reconnect with my muse”.

And last but not least…

* Self-doubt. It paralyzes me. It freezes the words before they even become words. It stymies ideas when I get too concerned with making sure they’re perfect ideas instead of just allowing them to be just that: ideas. But then I read this (apologies for the current Rainer Maria Rilke obsession) from Letters to a Young Poet:

“Your doubt can become a good attribute if you discipline it. It must become a knowing; it must become the critic. Ask it, as often as it wishes to spoil something, why something is ugly. Demand proof of it, test it, and you will find it perhaps perplexed and confused, perhaps also in protest. But don’t give in; demand arguments. Act with alertness and responsibility, each and every time, and the day will come when doubt will change from a destroyer to become one of your best fellow-workers, perhaps the wisest of all that have a part in building your life.”

Discipline the doubt. Demand arguments.

If you see me talking to myself, it’s a good thing. It means I’m actually at work.

What kills your creativity?

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One thought on “creativity buzz kills

  1. My creativity killers are the same plus I'll add money. I wanted to try painting again, until I went to buy some paints (I prefer oil), and then I saw a tube of paint (1 color!) was avg. $30, so I gave up. At least writing is free!