What Kills Creativity? (It's Nearer To You Than You Think.)
There is a crippling mindset that creators experience when creating any form of art. The art can be a short story, a painting, a song –anything. I’ve experienced it lots of times in the course of my career, and if you’re an artist, there is no doubt you’ve been through it as well.
Lately I’ve begun work on a four page comic that will eventually be part of a collection that I plan to self-publish sometime in the next year. My overall goal is to come out with a volume of comics, stories, and other fun stuff every few months.
Although I’m super excited about it, it’s the sort of project that comes with a fair share of doubt and anxiety. So, today, I thought I’d share my neurosis with you. (You can thank me for giving you one more mania to muddle through, ha ha.)
The Inner Critic
Ask yourself if you’ve experienced this. You begin work on a project, and soon enough, you find that the one thing standing between your vision of the piece, and the actual completed piece, is your own damn self.
In my experience, to get any concrete work done, it seems I have to push myself out of the room, and just do it.
That part of you that stands in the way of completing a piece is the inner critic – and every creator has one. Although damaging, this critic inside you is often an important thing to have. Without it, you’d rarely learn anything, and it’s the most important tool in your toolbox when you need to look objectively at something you’ve made, and make improvements. Not everything you create is awesome, right? Often, you need to be your own editor in order to make revisions and edits to the thing you’ve made so that it can be made better. (Revising is an art in and of itself!) In the best scenario, the inner critic should be seen as a star player, waiting in the wings to be called on to do its thing. But here’s the thing: call on the inner critic too soon in the process—say, when you're working on your first draft—and it will cripple your creativity. Even worse, it will kill your ability to finish anything.
I believe that to become a creator with emotional depth, it's necessary to agonize a little over your work. Making good art is not like rowing a boat on a calm river, it's more like shooting the rapids. The water is deep, and there are rocks in the way.
What obstacles have you encountered in your creative process? Tell me about them in the comments...