A Word on Creativity

Creativity is triggered by an unbelievable amount of things. Once in this phase of seeing everything in nothing, there is truly no limit to what your head can come up with: A simple word, a thought crossing your mind, a picture you’ve seen in your early childhood years, a long-lost idea you worked out in your dreams.

But one thing I have come to find is that albeit creativity can be easily triggered, it can also be harshly suppressed to a degree at which the artist feels locked in a room or caged in a situation, wanting to escape but not knowing how.

My current job is a great example of the feeling described above. It’s mind-numbing work with not too much upwards-crawling and does not suit my current needs of expressionism. We all know what kind of job I am talking about: Whoever has been stuck in a dull position without any prospect of growth or inflexibility to learn other sides of the industry, whoever has strived to achieve great results and then has frustratingly dealt with the crushing outcomes, whoever has been committed to work not aimed towards a career but simply moneymaking or paying the bills – whoever has done all of this, knows what it feels like to be on the wrong path of life.

What I have come to find is that even though I have plenty of downtime in my current position, I barely get two thirds of the things done I would be able to achieve if I were to have a fully challenging work. Absurd enough the amount of free time I have, but even more paradox the fact that I’d rather spend it on mindlessly surfing the internet, facebooking, or checking out other social networks. Rather than actively using it to my own benefit and applying for other positions or writing up some high-quality blog posts.

This being ironic by itself I have discovered that whenever I have been fully challenged the entire day, I am able to write about topics in about half the time I am here and I achieve more things throughout a two-hour period (perhaps in the morning before I leave the house) than I do here in twice the time. I dwell well on pressure – have always been this way, one of those fellows who wrote up their college papers six hours before the deadline. However, when I know I will do exciting things throughout the day or something that has a high fun factor, I am more willing to focus on the works I want to achieve that particular day.

Has anyone else ever come up with the logic to this absurdness? I guess creative situations stimulate you to a higher degree then dull circumstances which you know are just wasting your time in New York.

Perhaps there is a good explanation to all of this. We all have times during which we feel we can come up with new ideas in a second and then we have times during which we cannot figure out a simple thought or draw a stroke on a blank piece of paper. An article I read recently gave some great tips on how to improve your writing and one of these was to read challenging works before hopping into the writing process (Go to James Altucher’s blog to read them in depth.) . Others’ creativity has the potential to inspire you. Such as other’s indifference and unoriginality can pull you down, if you’re not displaying the right strength to resist the negative influence…

A glimmer of hope is that at least I am still using my valuable but wasted time to produce something I can express myself with and keep for future references – yes, even interact with people all over the world. When I look at my fellow coworkers, who simply utilize this time for dull internet shopping or talking to their friends on the phone, I feel fortunate I am not trapped in their mind set – yet.

So, to all of those fellow artists, writers, bloggers, who have been experiencing difficulties in expressing themselves lately: No worries, I am sure it will fade soon enough and give way to something superior.

You just have to trust your qualities of being creative and your ability to create. Both of these which we need so badly in our world today!

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11 thoughts on “A Word on Creativity

  1. Hey cheers for this post!
    My form is almost there now… It’s weird how as soon as I NEED TO WRITE something important – I can’t write one decent sentence…
    blah blah blah…

  2. I know that feeling. Fortunately, I did use my down time when working at a grocery store to write Kingdumb Meiser, which at least amused some of my coworkers, then and in following years. Then, I worked third shift at a hotel where I was free to do whatever I wanted within reason. I spent more time surfing the internet and watching movies and X-Files reruns than anything else. I had originally thought it would give me time to write, but when I would sit there, I had no inspiration. I have tons of stories from that time and someday I need to find a cohesive way to integrate them into a tale, but at that time…nada (although I did start searching for another job while there and did get some Japanese studying and book reading in). At the next job in a call center we were limited in how we could use down time (after awhile we weren’t even allowed to have books out because people were ignoring phone calls coming in) but I did take my notebook during NaNoWriMo and used my breaks and lunches to write everything I could think of and then worked more after work. During the actual work day, I didn’t get much done except that, like with the hotel, I have tons of notes that someday will hopefully be pulled together into a decent and hopefully entertaining story.

    As to the logic of it, I think you’re on to it with being inspired by creative situations. I think working a job where you’re doing nothing but keeping a roof over your head and food on the table sucks something out of you that would maybe otherwise go into creative work. You have all that time and all that happens is it feeling like it’s sliding by wasted. During the time I mentioned above, I rarely got anything written and wondered at times if I could even still consider myself a writer. It wasn’t until I moved to GA and was told not to worry about looking for a new job within a month of moving because we’re moving to Germany, and having the next three months mostly to myself, that I’ve gotten a lot done. I’ve written nearly a dozen stories, revised a few previous ones, made over 100 submissions to journals (and gotten a few acceptances) and started my new blog. It’s the most prolific I’ve been since college, and I think that’s due to it being the first time since then that I didn’t have a daily job to drain everything from me. I plan on working when we get to Germany, and I truly hope I can find something that, even if it’s not a “career” at least feels like more than a job and allows me to keep going with my creative endeavors even if I can’t spend as much time at them as I have been.

    • Wow Amanda, thank you for that rocking post! I don’t think anyone has ever written anything as lenghty as this!

      And yes, that’s exactly what it feels like!!
      It’s as if all this free time is not doing me any good because I do not feel productive during it and always ask myself what if… what if I had a better job , what if I could use my time more productively….

      Precisely the same reason I gave up waiting tables after two months because I realized that this was not what I had come here for – disregarding the having to pay the bills issue.
      So your experience in that hotel job, that’s something I might have pulled off for a month or two, but then I would have been out. Great to hear that you have been using your time so productively in the past three months and I would be glad to get a hold of a couple of those stories you’ve been talking about. I myself am thinking about writing my experiences down, I had a good start, but now that mission has seemed to went down the drain. Or temporarily out of sight! 😦

      • You’re welcome. Glad you liked it because I was typing in this little box and when I posted and saw how long it was I thought maybe I posted too much lol.

        Yep, that was pretty much how it was for me.

        It’s good that you were able to do that. I like to have a sure thing. Unfortunately when I had the hotel job I lived in an area where that was one of the only ones I found. I got out when I could but I had that job about a year. It wasn’t all bad. Made a friend I still talk to, have some memories that will hopefully work into a story. But I would be very disappointed with myself if I were still doing that. Now I have a little more leeway on what I apply to and accept.

        Thanks. I am very grateful that my husband gave me that opportunity to do my own thing in those couple months rather than spending it trying to find a temporary job that wasn’t going to bring in that much. If you mean the ones I’ve been writing, they’re mostly short shorts.If you’d like I can email a few. If you mean the ones about the places I’ve worked, the last two I only have random things written down but the first one is here: http://meiserly.blogspot.com

        You should if you have time, even if it’s just for yourself.

  3. Creativity is really important, and you have reached a good position! Not all people are lucky to have a job that gives them so much time for themselves like you was. You should use it. I think art and creativity are connected to what you want to say, to the message you want to let pass through the skills you master. Culture is what people share together, I don’t know what nowadays we, the people worldwide, share together but for sure we still have something to say. We need to keep our “fuoco sacro”(in eng. sacred fire) alive. Good article.

    • Interesting perspective, Ian! However, consider it luck or not, I am not sure it is so lucky after all since this is not the reason I came to New York. Anywhere else it might be luck, yes. It feels like a career has been stalled, though, to be honest.
      Thanks for sharing your fuoco sacro!

  4. what a great, inspiring post!!! and while i didn’t really write a blog post today on one of the things i’ve been thinking about, i did write some on the book i have started. so… woo hoo!! and you are so right, when you are surrounded by creativity, your creativity seems to flow even more! keep up the good use of your down time!

    • Yes, I read your post! Good luck and I wish you more progress on that book of yours! What is it about?
      Being surrounded by the people whose skills and talents you admire – I guess that should be everyone’s goal.

    • Hi Andrew, I have so far barely touched your blog but only shallowly skimmed through your pages, but I consider them very interesting and be assured that I will follow up on a few posts you’ve written! Very positive attitude you have.

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