We all have those days, right? The days when we feel anything but creative, and instead end up exhausted, burnt out, and unmotivated. I’ve had quite a few of those days recently, and they’re tough. It’s hard to get past the dead-zone and get to work.
Feeling unmotivated is one of the most frustrating and discouraging things we face as creatives. I mean, we want to do our best work, after all, don’t we? So what’s the problem? What’s causing this void in the creative well?
Nobody wants to be influenced by negative people. People obsessed with offense, complaining, and griping are just not fun to be around—not to mention the block this negativity puts on the flow of Wonder and creativity.
When we dwell in a negative mindset, surrounded by negative people, the things we create lose their power. After all, the purpose of creativity is to bring hope where there is hopelessness, and beauty where there are ashes. The purpose is to have a positive impact—but how can we create that in a world so enveloped in negativity?
Words impact us. It’s true. The things people say affect us, whether we show it or not. But what affects us even more are the things we say about ourselves.
Labels mean things. Some we identify with voluntarily, while some are cast on us by other people. Others, we adopt out of hopelessness, discouragement, or desperation. These labels sink deep into our minds and affect how we think, how we act, and what we believe about who we are.
In this culture, we’re okay with living small. We don’t like risks—especially if those risks may end up costing or hurting us. It’s scary to step out too far, so we rarely do. Living small is comfortable.
It’s difficult to break out of the mediocrity of small living: the comfort zone. Yet deep down, we long for more. For adventure. We thirst for a bigger purpose, and so we turn to stories.
Let’s admit it: life is crazy. Downright unpredictable. We live in a wide, wondrous, dangerous world swirling with mysteries; spinning with possibilities, endless and pulsing with life. It draws us deeper, seeking adventure, and yet we fear to enter the Perilous Realm, because we want to be certain.
Every day, we tangle with mysteries; brush with the unexpected. And most days, we resist it. We cling to our plans and expectations, pushing away the hidden gems of possibility because we fear the unknown and hate the unexpected. And sometimes I wonder: What would happen if we embraced it?
I’ve talked before about how creativity—the thirst of our souls for wonder and beauty—is a part of us all. It’s something we were born with; something we connect to in our innermost beings. The magic of imagination is not just the talent of a few, as we sometimes tell ourselves, but in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “[It is] the health of every man.”
Did you get that? Imagination is health. Health. And not just for those people we refer to as “creatives”, but for everyone. Something we often write off as a pastime or a mere hobby is actually critical to our mental wellbeing. And not only that—creativity is absolutely vital to personal development and growth for several reasons. When we neglect to foster it, we don’t mature.
Some days creativity comes easier than others. It’s always nice when the stream is flowing and the words and colors and ideas are coming, but we all know it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes you don’t feel creative. Sometimes, you might even wonder if you’ll ever feel that way again.
When I was in high school, I focused all my spare energy on writing novels. I wrote and wrote and wrote; hundreds of thousands of words. And at first it was easy. But there came a time, shortly after I graduated when I stopped writing almost altogether. It was like the spark of passion I’d had had gone out.