Wednesday, May 6, 2009


In one of my earlier post, I mentioned an exercise from Eric Maisel’s book "The Creativity Book: A Year’s Worth of Inspiration and Guidance." He requires the reader to name five obstacles which prevent h/she from realizing h/her creative potential.

Here are my 5:

- That I’ll be criticized.
- That I’ll be ridiculed.
- I don’t have the talent to be a prolific creative.
- I don’t have time to do all the creative work I want.
- I end up being alone as I spend all my time working on my creative projects.

And as I’m typing them up, I’m thinking if they are valid.

1) That I’ll be criticized & That I’ll be ridiculed.

Unless I live in a hole or a deserted island, there is no way I could avoid any criticism (good or bad) to my work or even to me as a person. The way to go with it is to accept those ones which make sense and discard those which don’t.

The hardest part to deal with criticism probably is one’s ego. Just like everyone else, I want people to like my work and to like me. But it is simply impossible to please everyone. And if anyone who tries to do this, I bet the reverse happen. You lose your audience and more importantly, you lose your Self. The integrity of any creative work has always been very important to me. I’d rather read some stories which might not be that well written but contain originality and the author’s spirit, if you know what I mean.

The same applies to "being ridiculed".

2) I don’t have the talent to be a prolific creative.

Another book, A Writer’s Space – Make Room to Dream, to Work, to Write (also by Maisel) comes to rescue. I’ll copy a short paragraph from Chapter 11

Lesson 11

To be a writer you must write, but being a writer is not about writing. The next time you worry your brain about whether you can write, slap yourself hard. Everyone can write. Your worry should be whether you are brave enough to vanish into the depths of your neuronal circuitry and come back with creations. You are a diver, not a writer; an explorer, not a writer; an inventor, not a writer; a magician, not a writer.

Bravo Mr Maisel! And I’m telling you (Mr Maisel and all fellow creatives) – I’m fearless! And here I’m diving into the creative pool … oops no water, no soft landing, my arms broken. Can someone call an ambulance and drop me a bar of chocolate while I’m waiting?

3) I don’t have time to do all the creative work I want.

Time is of essence to produce work. But if I’m honest, it really comes down to master procrastination and be organized. One thing I learn from my own work place regarding time management is to be realistic. If all I could manage (timewise) is to get 200 words down on paper a day, then that’s it. No point to keep pushing myself until exhaustion. I should actually give myself a big pat on the shoulder for the fact that I stick with my word count.

4) I end up being alone as I spend all my time working on my creative projects.

Loneliness is inherent in most creative works. We lock ourselves in both our physical and mind space to do our projects. But unless I’m absolutely totally anti-social, how could I ever be lonely? By writing and sharing this with my fellow creatives, I’ve already proved to myself that I’m not alone. Stupid Hybrid!

Now it’s your turn, fellow creatives. What are your obstacles and how do you deal with them?


Pamela said...

I've struggled with most of these obstacles as well. Have you been part of a writing community like or At each one, people read and review each other's work. Any criticism should be constructive but not everyone adheres to that. Participating could be one way to get used to good and not so good feedback on a small scale. Please forgive me if you've already talked about this.

Your posts are always well written, informative and creative. I'm sure your stories are just as fantastic!

Sarah said...

Good morning hon!! I love your writing and have struggled with the same issues for years. A few I have sloshed through others still bind me. Time is always an issue for me I guess and ignoring interference from others in my life. I keep pushing forward and redefining my goals as I reach them - happy to say in the last year and a half I have been able to do that a couple of times - whoo hoo. I still struggle with - will they like it - will they buy it now and again???
I love your writing and know you will slosh through these things too.
BTW the zigzag photos... before you upload a photo on the right side of the box it has a place to mark, left, center, or right - I just change the placement with each picture.
Hope your having a great day hon, Sarah

Librarian Lee said...

I love that you wrote this - and I love how you wrote this. You know what fascinates me? If I were to list my fears, they'd look pretty much like yours. And, I bet so would everyone else's fears - same song, different verse, variations on a theme. So figure this out, we're all worried about (or drop dead scared of!) being rejected and ridiculed by those very same people who are afraid of being rejected and ridiculed. How come we just can't get over this? Or - how come *I *can't?

I applaud you! I think you're doing right fine. Just right fine and I really love reading your writing. Thanks!

Hybrid J said...

Hi Pamela,

You're so generous of your comments to my post and writing. :) You're right about participating workshop group to get used to the critique process. I don't belong to any writing group at this stage but have been contemplating to join / start one for a long time. I think with my progress of STOS, I should have enough of work for workshop later part of the year. And that will be the time when I join / form any group. At the mean time you gals' support help me to overcome my fears! So thanks mate ... :D Oh, and thanks for the links. Will check them out later.

Hybrid J said...

Hi Sarah,

You're always so sweet to me! :

You made a great point about pushing forward and redefining your goals along the way. I think this is very important. It requires a lot of self motivation to work on any creative project. This also means that at any one point, we could just throw up our hands and give up. The "pushing" attitude is crucial to keep the creative fire buring, while the redefine process is to learn about self-evaluation for improvement. And I can see from your artwork that you're definitely on the right track and people like your work too! So keep going my friend.

And thanks the tips of "zigzag" photo. Will try it out! :D

Hybrid J said...

Hi Lee,

I applaud you too for being so supportive to my blog. It's interesting to note that the fear factors are common among all types of creatives. These fears perhaps are close to the primitive fear we have as a human beings. I think that's why I'm not only posting as a writer-in-practice but also as a creative person. Creativity is universal and hence a lot of my experience could be shared with other creatives.

Thanks again for your loving comments. They warm my hearts! :D

Holly said...

My obstacle more times than not? Simply being me. And, not trusting the me that I am.

Hybrid J said...

Hi Holly,

Ah how right you are about "not trusting the me that I am." You're such a wise woman! ;)