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
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?