Day 20 – The Burden of Creativity

Art exhibition pieces


Creativity is a lot of work. For some people, it comes to them naturally. For others, it’s a skill they develop.

The ability to have new ideas (some not entirely original but revised) that will bring about change is what creativity brings to the table. People that are creative drive the transformation of what has been into what will become. And not just in the theaters but all around us.

In our world, creativity is what drives innovation in art, science, technology, commerce, agriculture, fashion, education, music, and basically every industry.

Who’s a creative?

A creative is anybody whose job requires creative work. A person who can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. A creative’s imagination is such that they bring into existence the non-existent.

The characteristics of creativity are closely related to curiosity and questioning, the flexibility of thought and action, and exploring different perspectives and resolutions.

Take my mother for example. She is a preacher of no food waste. She has the ability to transform leftover meals into a new meal. Sometime, she’ll combine two different kinds of food together. Her concoctions is legendary (The taste of some of them were funky but we knew it would not end well for us to complain about our African mother’s cooking.)

Creative people are always on the lookout for the unexpected. They are always looking for a different way to do things, or to stand out from the crowd. Researchers have sought to find out if creatives ride the thin line between genius and psychotic.

A quote on creativity

Creativity is Intelligence having fun

– Albeit Einstein

Is being a creative a burden?

A couple of days back I was chatting with the incredible Aunty Adata (Chief weirdo of Newville). Our discussions usually revolve around writing which is the main reason why we found each other. But that day, we delved into photography – which was not surprising because I always sneak it into every discussion. I love photography and I like to talk about it with people.

I had shared with her some of my pictures and her delight when she saw them pooled like hot chocolate in my belly.

It’s amazing when you are genuinely appreciated for the work you do. Gives you an extra push.

But best not to get hung up on people’s praise as a creative, do you really want to do amazing work and hide it under your bed? It’s like buying fish from the market and hoping it will not smell because you wrapped it in a newspaper.

I’m not saying you should pursue fame and world domination (not a bad idea if you are capable of making it happen). However, a lot of creatives become better because they’ve shared their work and gotten feedback. A lot of creatives also get fixated with people’s approval. I can be very protective of my work, like a mama bear. Just a whiff of diapproval and I’ll fomaing in the mouth. I’m learning not to take things to heart though.

I blame Adata for planting it in my mind, and I also want to hug her. During our conversation she said, “Too many interests. The burden of creatives. We tend to be confused about what path exactly to tow.”

So true. If I had to make a list of the things that tickle my fancy, it would go on and on.

It can be a burden. Yes. Those things you love to do can become your obsessions – you can become slaves to your passion. It’s a lot harder for people who have a multitude of interests. Many creatives stumble and fail because they are stretched too thin. Looking for perfection because they want people’s validation or they suffer from imposter syndrome. Those that confound people’s expectations and excel in all soon find all of their energy used up.

Is it worth doing if creativity becomes a burden?

There were days after a shoot when I got back home, fall flat on my face, and did not move for hours. I was exhausted to my soul. My brother called it ‘the death sleep. because I would sleep with reckless abandon.’ The next day I would be up and out of the house to do it all over again. Days when I walked away from my writing in disgust because it just doesn’t make sense. But always I come back to it.

But if it’s not convincing enough, do as my friend would say, ‘It pays the bills.’

It does pay the bills at least.

But quite a number of creatives feel burdened by doing the work just to pay their bills. It takes away the fun of just playing around with ideas and just doing things at their own pace.

In an interrview with The Q, Adele opened up about 30, divorce and her struggle with fame. She mentioned that she drifted from music at some point because music which was her hobby became her job.

Why not make creativity less of a burden…

Oui! Did the older generation know better? Do we know better? Whatever creativity is, it is what gives the world its edge. Like sparks from a charcoal stove, it is brilliant and fascinating to behold.

Take Bill Cunningham for instance. A New Yorker and renowned fashion photographer is known for haunting the streets and taking pictures of what he considered interesting fashion style. The man rode a bicycle to work. He even showed up at work with a leg-cast, band-aid, and walking stick…now how did he manage that riding a bicycle?

My point isn’t that you shouldn’t buy a car or call in sick for work. Creatives can go overboard for their art. No wonder society questions their sanity.

You can check out this article on How To Overcome The Crushing Burden Of The Creative.

I think that you should be able to find for yourself a balance with your art so that you no longer perceive it as a burden. Let it become more than paying your bills if possible. Do it so that you can enrich your life and the lives of those around you.

#Day 20 of 30 days writing challenge – Not Enough Writers

Photo Credit: Pexels

One thought on “Day 20 – The Burden of Creativity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s